Messages From P, Q, R, S and T

As we continue our journey through the alphabet, you’ll find more ideas to help recharge your fundraising, using P, Q, R, S and T as my “copy triggers.” (Just like writing a good fundraising appeal, right?!)
And there’s a bonus: Once again, Sue Pargman from Masterworks has weighed in with some recommendations. I’ll include her thoughts at the end of my article, giving all you overachieving fundraisers an opportunity for extra credit this week. So let’s get started …

P is for person
Before you start to write your e-appeal, letter or newsletter, remember who you are writing to. It’s one person. Visualize that person, perhaps even thinking of a family member or acquaintance to whom you want to tell the story of your nonprofit.

You’ve heard me say it before, but it bears repeating now (and again in the future, I am sure): “I am not the target audience.” Since you aren’t your target — after all, you know too much about your nonprofit and fundraising — it can help to remember that you are writing to one person. Especially if your donor base is typically a different age or gender than you, or dissimilar in any other way, having a single person in mind who does remind you of your target can help you keep your letter sounding like a conversation between the letter signer and that one, very important person.

Q is for question
This week, vow to question everything. No, this isn’t permission to be a pain to your colleagues, but ask yourself “why.” Why do you send that mailing every April? Why don’t you set up a special landing page for each e-appeal? Why don’t you have more stories and photos to choose from? Or whatever it is that you have come to accept as “just part of working here.”

Pamela consults with nonprofits in the United States and internationally, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations, getting hands-on experience in everything from direct mail to DRTV, and major gift solicitation to event management. Pamela is a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and has a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at pamela@pjbardeninc.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.

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