Direct Mail That Works! Part #1


We recently had the opportunity to help a Better Fundraising For All follower that works for a world relief organization.  The goal was to improve their fundraising direct appeal letter.  They tested our suggestions and since then have seen a dramatic increase in their direct appeal fundraising letter results.  There were four basic elements in the letter that we believe caused it to outperform previous letters.  Below you will see two of those elements.

  1. The letter shared a story of Need, of someone who needs help. Earlier drafts shared a story that was a Success. We know from experience that when the story in an appeal letter is a story of success the letter will raise less money. Why? Because the most compelling part of the letter (the story) communicates to the donors that the problem has already been solved so the donor doesn’t need to send in a gift. The best letters present the donor with a Problem and then ask them to solve that problem with a gift.
  2. The letter featured one story about one person. An earlier draft had two stories about two people. If at all possible the story in an appeal letter should only have one person.

Try implementing these simple, yet powerful elements in your next fundraising direct appeal.

Jim Shapiro

Jim Shapiro is the fundraising coach you’ve always wanted, the proven Sherpa who can help you get to the top of the mountain. Jim has 30 years’ experience raising money, including serving as the VP of Development for a global $100m nonprofit. He co-founded The Better Fundraising Co. to help small-to-medium nonprofits raise more money.

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