Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the annual scramble for donations in the U.S. Your mailbox fills up with appeal letters from groups you support (and some you don’t).
But did any of them look like this?
- Calling her by name. I’m amazed how many groups still use the salutation “Dear Friend.”
- Creating visual appeal. The photo catches your attention.
- Using a real story. It’s not just a photo: it’s a person, looking you in the eye, telling his story.
- Adding a hand-written note. It’s actually on an orange sticky note, and the content is personalized to Rona.
- Directing her clearly how to give. There’s no mystery; only clarity.
All of these elements make the letter vivid, attractive, and appealing.
As Seth Godin recently wrote, the donor is the hero of the story.
But the most important thing that Next Step did was starting the letter with “You.”
Next Step understands that donors will give if they feel that their donation is doing the good work. As Seth Godin recently wrote, the donor is the hero of the story. That’s why they give.
Now, your letter doesn’t literally have to start with “You.” It would be boring if every letter did! But when you write your organization’s annual appeal letter, does it start with the donor? Have you done everything you could to make them feel the letter was personally written for them?
The ideal appeal letter puts your donors at the center of the story – cape and all.
Passionate about social change, Dennis Fischman helps nonprofit organizations tell their stories and win the support they need. As a consultant, he leads you to develop your communications strategy, attracts supporters for you through content marketing, and helps you manage your blog and social media. Dennis has guest posted on the John Haydon blog, Social Media Game Plan, and the B-Cause blog for nonprofit executives in Australia. He is an Associate at Cause and Effective. Read more of his advice on his Communicate! blog and follow him on Twitter (@DennisFischman).