Direct Mail That Works! Part #2


This is a follow-up to our last blog post.  Below you will see the other two elements of a successful direct appeal letter.

  1. The letter now has an Ask in the first few paragraphs. Earlier versions didn’t have an ask until the top of the second page. And the eye-tracking studies show that the top half of the second page is the least-read sections of the letter. The earlier letter was effectively hiding the ask — and that’s no way to raise money!
  2. Finally, the letter uses design to help the donor know the most important parts of the letter. The underlining and the call-outs highlight the Ask and the Need. Earlier versions highlighted the success and other information. We have to assume that most donors scan the letter. So we used underlining and call-outs to highlight the letter in it’s simplest form: there is a problem that needs to be solved, and the donor’s gift will solve it if they send in a gift today.

Now that you know the four elements of a a successful direct appeal letter, make sure you apply them to your appeals this next fiscal year.

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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