In my last post, I shared what it felt like to realize that marketing rules and fundraising rules were different. Click here to see how well I handle being wrong.
Being willing to learn the rules for fundraising writing changed everything for my organization, and for me.
I walked away from my learning and writing adventure with an appeal letter that was like nothing my organization had ever tried before.
- The letter was direct and clear.
- The writing was simple, around a 5th grade reading level.
- We told donors in a clear way what the problem was and how they could give to help solve that problem.
- We included a story that illustrated the problem.
- We asked donors to give multiple times throughout the letter.
- The letter was FOUR PAGES LONG, plus there was a full-sized reply sheet.
- The font was large and readable (15 pt!).
- And the design was simple… a lot like plain old letterhead with a few design elements.
I printed out the letter and walked into my boss’s office. I watched his facial expressions as he read it.
And then he said,
“Sarah, I don’t know if this will work. I’m somewhat skeptical. But let’s try it.”
“But let’s try it” – these turned out to be the magic words.
That letter where I followed FUNDRAISING rules raised five times what the previous year-end appeal raised.
And it changed the way we did direct mail and email fundraising.
Even though the new way of doing things was a lot more effective, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
But it turned out the things I learned served me well, even when the world changed completely.
Next time… fundraising when the world turns upside down.
Comment here or find me on Twitter @sarahlundberg.
Read the series
- But I’m Not a Fundraiser… Going from Marketer to Fundraiser
- The Magic Words in Fundraising: “Let’s Try It” (This post)
- Fundraising when the world turns upside down…