Send the Same Thing at the Same Time to Save Time


When you send out a fundraising letter or email that works great, I want you to do something: plan to send out the same message, in the same format, at the same time next year.

Think about how much time you could save!

And wouldn’t you love knowing that what you send next year is going to work great?

If you’re not already using this strategy, here are some examples of letters / emails / campaigns that nonprofits we serve are successfully repeating each year…

  • March “Send a kid to the museum for a day”
  • Late January “Monthly donor recruitment” campaign
  • July “Stop a girl from becoming a child bride”
  • Early August “Back to school”
  • Late October “Thanksgiving meals”
  • Early May “Send a kid to summer camp for a day”
  • Summer “Provide clean water for a family”
  • Early November “Christmas Newsletter”
  • Late October “Fall gift catalog”
  • Early March “Easter appeal”
  • September “Persecuted Church” campaign
  • Early June “Summer Book Drive”
  • Early May “Help a graduating student with disabilities get a job interview”

All of the above letters / emails / campaigns are reliable performers where the nonprofit can count on raising a bunch of money.

They all started when we sent a letter or email, noticed that it did particularly well, and we decided to “do it again next year.”

Specifically, we sent the same message (with the same “offer”), in the same format, at about the same time.  The writing and design was updated only as much as absolutely necessary. 

When you use this strategy, four powerful things happen:

  1. You do less work because it takes less time to “update last year’s letter / email / campaign” than it does to “create a new letter / email / campaign from scratch.”
  2. You have more energy for other projects because of the “lighter lift” required by mail and email fundraising.
  3. Over time, your annual plan fills up with proven winners, so your annual revenue becomes more predictable
  4. You start raising more money every year because you get better and better at knowing what makes each letter / email / campaign work well.

    1. For instance, say you’ve done a “Stop a girl from becoming a child bride” letter for three years in a row.  You notice that one of those three letters raised more than the other two.  You open the PDF of the one that worked best and use it as the “template” for the next “Stop a girl from becoming a child bride” letter.  You’ve learned from your experiments and you’ve leveled up!

So… look at the results of your fundraising pieces from last year.  Did you do anything that you can “do again” this year with minimal updating?

Or if you’ve been “repeating” letters, emails and campaigns for years, what did you learn from last year’s fundraising that you can use to make this year’s fundraising more effective?


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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