How to Write Effective Fundraising Copy
The most important thing to remember is, write for THEM, not you.
Remember: What goes in determines what comes out. Do your research. Read a LOT. Read everything. Listen to talk radio. Watch the news. Know what you’re talking about. The more you know, the easier it will be to both write and speak on the subject.
Remember where your money comes from: Your donors. Focus on them. Write for them. Take care of them. Understand them. Pay very close attention to them in every way.
And write in the same language they speak. I don’t mean you have to learn a foreign language. I mean talk and write in a conversational tone. You’re not writing a term paper. You’re trying to compel action. Use emotion as well as persuasion, dammit!
Five ways to be less effective at fundraising
- Your call to action is weak.
- You are not asking enough times in the letter.
- Your type font is too small.
- The word “you” is not showing up enough.
- You are not mailing often enough to your donors asking them to renew.
SOURCE: Future Fundraising Now
Four steps for turning your fundraising message from a loser to a winner
From Better Fundraising for All, an account of how a poorly performing direct mail appeal was revised into a winner. Here are the changes that made the difference:
- A story of need was added. (It had been a description of the wonderfully effective program.)
- The story was about one person. (It had been about all the people.)
- There was an Ask in the first few paragraphs. (The ask wasn’t until late in the original letter.)
- Design was used to help the donor know the most important parts of the letter. (Underlines, boldface type, and other forms of emphasis were added.)
That’s a recipe for success…especially the part about telling a story. Don’t recite philosophical talking points. Tell a story that illustrates the point you want to make. Start with the “moral of the story is…” and then build a story about the lesson.
For example, let’s say the point you want to make is, “The government ought not do for the people what the people can and should do for themselves.” Now find a story in your experience that drives that point home. Tell that story…then close with: “The moral of the story is…”
I just received an email with the subject line “The real battle.”
What’s it all about? I don’t know about you, but I have no idea. A political race. A new military effort in the Middle East. A diet debate. Tastes great vs. less filling.
Whatever it is, I don’t care. I have 137 other emails in my inbox. This one doesn’t give me a hint as to what it’s about or why I should care. Soooo…DE-LETE!
Don’t get cute with your subject lines. I know it reportedly worked for Barack Obama. You’re not Barack Obama. Tell ‘em in the subject line what you’re gonna tell ‘em.
Buying Ads at YOUR Price
Odds are your campaign or organization will, at one time or another, want to place an ad in a newspaper, magazine, newsletter or online. As often as not, the asking price for the ad is gonna be higher than you want or can afford to pay.
Well, here’s a little tip that could pay off big time, courtesy of marketing guru Kevin Halbert. Send a letter, along with a check, to the publication where you want to run the ad saying something along the lines of this…
“Hi, My name is (insert name) and we’d love to run an ad in your publication, but after reviewing our budget this wouldn’t be possible unless we could run it for (x) amount of dollars. I know this is far below your current card rate but if you have extra space for any reason and can place my ad, I have enclosed a certified check made out for what we can afford to pay. If you do run the ad you can go ahead and cash the check and if not you can rip it up or send it back.”
It’s awfully difficult for folks to turn away cash in hand!
For a website or online publication, you can probably shoot them a similar offer via email and tell them to simply call you at any time and you’ll give them your credit card number. Depending on the time and circumstances, might even work for radio and TV ads.
How to Deal with People Who are Wrong
“The easiest way to disagree with someone is to assume that they are uninformed, and that once they know what you know, they will change their mind. (A marketing problem!)
“The second easiest way to disagree is to assume that the other person is a dolt, a loon, a misguided zealot who refuses to see the truth. Their selfish desire to win interferes with their understanding of reality. (A political problem!)
“The third easiest way to disagree with someone is to not actually hear what they are saying. (A filtering problem!)
“The hardest way to disagree with someone is to come to understand that they see the world differently than we do, to acknowledge that they have a different worldview, something baked in long before they ever encountered this situation. (Another marketing problem, the biggest one).
“There actually are countless uninformed people. There are certainly craven zealots. And yes, in fact, we usually hear what we want to hear, or hear what the TV tells us, or hear what we expect, instead of hearing what was said, and the intent behind it. Odds are, though, that we will make the change we seek by embracing the hard work of telling stories that resonate, as opposed to dismissing the other who appears not to get it.”
– Seth Godin
How to Totally Screw Up an Event Invitation
I recently received a fundraising event invitation that included the identity of the host organization, the theme of the event, the date, the time, the cost and the location. Everything you need in a successful fundraising event invitation, right?
Winners Circle members learned this week what key element was missing from this invitation – a critical fundraising component missing from most campaign fundraising event invites, as well as fundraising letters. If you’re not a Winners Circle member, you’re probably making the same mistake without even knowing it.
For a free, two-month trial membership in the Winners Circle…as well as $461.94 worth of pure campaign fundraising information…go to: www.CampaignCash.us
Famous Last Words
“Tip (O’Neill) is a true pol. He can really like you personally while politically trying to beat your head in.” – Ronald Reagan
“Don’t wear a cowboy hat unless you are a cowboy.” – Copywriter Bob Bly