Donor-centred language

Published on February 5, 2014 by

The No. 1 blunder when using emotion in fundraising

Most fundraisers  understand that using emotions in copy is a good thing.

But with this knowledge comes poor attempts to integrate emotion into fundraising appeals. I could give you a list of mistakes charities make when trying to use emotion.

But most of them stem from one single issue. It's this...

Trying to evoke emotions you want the donor to have... rather than tapping into emotions the donor already has.

Often a charity will talk about how they want the reader to feel after reading an appeal. But that’s backwards.

Because you may end up trying to change how a ...

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Published on December 5, 2013 by

Why you should use repeated asks in your fundraising letters

First, I’ll clarify what I mean by repeated asks. I mean the parts of the letter, usually highlighted in some way, that ask donors for a specific dollar amount for a specific purpose.

“June, your $50 gift means we can provide emergency food and shelter to a needy person this winter.”

Such an ask is repeated several times, depending on the length of the letter. The longer the letter, the more asks.

Here are two good reasons to use repeated asks.

1. The rule of seven

You’ve probably heard it said that a person ...

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Published on November 28, 2013 by

Beware these 7 overused fundraising phrases

These fundraising stock phrases have lost much of their punch.

Maybe one day they meant something. But now they’re used interchangeably across charities in different sectors – medical and health, overseas development, disability, youth, welfare. Pretty much any sector involving people.

What are these phrases?

You’ll know them (and their derivatives).

  1. Transforming lives (or changing lives)
  2. Saving lives
  3. Making a difference
  4. Having an impact
  5. Most vulnerable (or disadvantaged)
  6. Poorest of the poor
  7. Brighter future

Doubtless, you can think of more.

They are different to jargon in that they’ve probably been used effectively in the past. Samples of past ...

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Published on October 28, 2013 by

How to write for donor retention (Part 3)

My third “donor gift” is to…

Give your donors respect for their values and opinions

Your donors have views about raising families, unemployment, politics, the environment, social justice and the state of the world.

Acknowledge these views in your copy. By doing so, you show that you respect and understand their concerns about the world they live in.

It also makes you stand out from the bureaucratic corporate speak so often seen in fundraising appeal copy.

And get this – it’s the most important thing I’ll say in this post.

If you can show you have values and views ...

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Published on October 23, 2013 by

How to write for donor retention (Part 2)

Remember, building strong relationships with the donor is a two-way street. They give to you but you also need to give to them.

So here’s my second “donor gift” aimed at giving something meaningful to your donors through your copy. It’s actually a two-in-one, a double feel-good whammy for your donor.

Give the donor a heart-warming moment in their day

and

Give the donor the chance to be a hero

I’m constantly astonished at the speed with which stories spread on social media. Even untrue stories and hoaxes.

You’ve probably seen those tearjerker stories where a hard luck case makes ...

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Published on October 17, 2013 by

How to write for donor retention (Part 1)

Gimme, gimme, gimme. Sometimes, that’s all your donors feel they hear from you.

But what we should really be doing is trying to give as much as we can to the donor.

Over the next few posts I will share some "donor gifts" that will hopefully shift attitudes from “How do we get more out of the donor?” to “How do we give something meaningful to the donor?”

Yes, so the donor feels more connected, emotionally engaged, happy or comfortable about giving to you. That’s how you get donors to give – and then keep giving.

Notice I'm not talking ...

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Published on October 4, 2013 by

4 ways to raise more money from your Christmas appeal

Everyone’s in the throes of Christmas appeal planning. So I thought it may be useful to throw in some of the “best bang for your buck ways” to raise more money for your charity this Christmas.

1. Review your Christmas offers

I don’t know why but some charities seem to feel that people will give just because it’s Christmas.

This is partly true. Donors will give – but you still need to develop a compelling offer.

A lot of the letters I see around Christmas time go something like this:

Please give $50 to help disadvantaged people in ...

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