An Appeal is a Promise


An appeal letter is a promise.

The organization promises that if a donor gives a gift, something will happen.

As all the gifts are coming in this week, you’re seeing a lot of donors take you up on your organization’s promise.

The first half of fulfilling the promise is to do the work your organization does: feed the child, put on the play, add new books for the library, you get it.

The second half of fulfilling the promise is to show and tell donors that the appeal’s promise was kept.  Show and tell your donors the child that was fed, the play that was performed, the new books snug in their shelves.

After all, if your organization doesn’t “report back” to donors, how will donors know that their gift made a difference?

So right now, while you’re on the emotional high from all the gifts coming in, make sure you have a plan to “report back” early next year: a print newsletter, a donor-reporting letter, or perhaps an email that shares one story of change.

If you do, your donors will be more likely to donate the next time you ask. 


Because they’ll know that your organization keeps its promises. 


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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