Don’t make these 5 mistakes in your year end fundraising letter!
Your year-end appeal letter just might be missing the boat.
Here are some things I bet you are doing wrong:
1. Your call to action is weak.
Lots of letters I see beat around the bush. They don’t tell the donor explicitly what step to take.
You’ve simply got to tell people what to do! And you have to lay it out in very specific words.
Give them the next step. Say: “Please fill out the reply card and send it today.”
Say “the xxx needs you today. Please make a gift right now.”
Use the word “today.”
Use the words “right now.”
That gives the letter a sense of urgency and a deadline.
The donor needs both – so she’ll take action and not set your letter aside to consider later.
MUST DO: Make your call to action completely explicit.
2. You are not asking enough times in the letter.
Tom Ahern says that there should be asks all over the place. Your letter should be full of asks.
That’s what the letter is for, isn’t it?
We looked at an appeal letter he recently wrote and it was chock full of asks.
Tom says there are different types of asks.
1. Soft asks.
2. Implied asks.
3. Hard asks.
MUST DO: Use all these different ways of asking in your letter:
- “Please join . . . “
- “I need you. Xxx needs you.”
- “Can’t do it without you.”
- “Take part.”
- “Take these two steps. . . “
- “Make your gift right now.”
3. Your type font is too small.
Tom says when he interviews donors in focus groups they complain a lot.
One of the main things he hears about is that the letters are hard to read.
The new standard for appeal letters is 14 point type.
Your likely donor is a woman who is over 50 years old. She needs to be able to read the dang letter, right!
MUST DO: Always use 14 point type.
4. The word “you” is not showing up enough.
Tom and I looked at his appeal letter and we counted over 20 uses of the word ‘you.”
He said that “you” is an emotional trigger. It IMMEDIATELY pulls people in.
If you don’t have “you” and “your” showing up tons and tons in your letter, throw it out and start over!
MUST DO: Add the word “you” wherever you possibly can.
5. You are not mailing often enough to your donors asking them to renew.
This is amazing.
Tom says that the reason your donors are not renewing their gifts is NOT that they don’t like you anymore.
It’s that you don’t remind them enough.
He says “what really kills your response rate is that your donors throw your letter away.”
Some of the nonprofits he works with mail 5-6 times during the year asking donors to renew their gifts from last year.
And the nonprofits get a 40-60% response rate on their letters – because they are in front of these donors – constantly putting offers in front of them asking them to join in and renew.
MUST DO: You’ve got to stay after your wonderful donors with plenty of reminders to renew their gift!
One more thing!
You need to create the best possible year-end campaign, right? And you are wondering how on earth to organize it, what to say, what the sequences are, right?
Did you know there are short cuts you can take that will jack up your dollar results? Just like these in this article!
I’ve got the TOP EXPERTS in our field for you this month – giving you exactly what you need to know – to give your fundraising power and punch right now – the fall of 2013.
Tom Ahern, Ted Hart, even the great Mal Warwick himself. All the masters in our field.
Join us in the 2013 Year-End Fundraising Telesummit!
Find out what the experts say donors want from us right now.
Find out the short cuts to use and the little things you can do to BOOST YOUR RESPONSE RATE – and the money you bring in! Yay! Find out about it here!
What do you think are more BIG MISTAKES people make in their year-end appeal letter?
I left out some good ones – leave a comment and tell me what they are!