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If you’re an Aussie, the plight of our dairy farmers has been big news over the last few weeks. Here is one of the many articles about it. The Australian public responded, trying to buy locally produced, non-Coles or non-Woolworths milk. My Facebook feed (and probably yours) has been filled with people trying to work out which brands of milk and dairy products to buy that will help Australian dairy farmers. In the midst of all this, the following post caught my eye. This is an example of an almost perfect thank you letter in social media format. Although it’s written from a business rather than a non-profit perspective, non-profits can learn a lot from it.
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Last week, I got an email from a client sending me a direct mail sample from another charity. She suggested we do something similar. I opened up the sample… and did a facepalm. It was not the most terrible piece of fundraising communications I’ve ever seen… but it broke all the rules of effective direct response. And not in a good way. The problem is the client thought it was good simply because their much bigger competitor did it.
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A client asked me last week whether you need to send your donors a thank you letter after EVERY donation they send in. Because the donor admin department doesn’t want to send gift acknowledgements and thank you letters after each gift. “It’s much more efficient to just send one annual statement at the end of the financial year. We save money and it’s much less hassle.” So let’s think about this.
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When we start working with a new client, we often work on direct mail because that is a pressing need for the non-profit or charity. When we begin talking to clients about fundraising strategy… this is NOT primarily about direct mail. Although direct mail is a tactic used in the execution of a fundraising strategy, it’s not the strategy itself. It’s not about taking a calendar of direct mail appeals and newsletters and calling that a strategy. Developing a fundraising strategy is first about looking at your organisation’s strategic plan. Yes, the overall strategic plan. Not the fundraising strategic plan.
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As a copywriter, I hate jargon! Yet jargon crops up in fundraising appeals, direct mail, donor newsletters, websites… and just about anything else written for donors! So I’ve decided to start a regular spot on my blog called June’s Jargon Watch. The aim will be to highlight these atrocities of the English language. And also suggest how they could be rewritten so the donor – and the average person – can actually understand them.
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Fave Fundraising Sites