Go On ... I Dare You
4. Let your donors leave your list
Right now, you have some donors on your list who don't want to be there. Maybe they have to cut back on their giving. Or they don't care about your cause anymore. Or they shouldn't have been there in the first place. Every time you contact them, they get a little annoyed. And they never give. You're just throwing good money after bad prospects, over and over again.
It's not your fault they're there. You have no way of knowing they want out — unless they tell you, which most never will. So ask them. Periodically, give your donors some options about the relationship, including "Please remove me from your mailing list."
You won't get many takers, but those who leave will overwhelmingly be people who don't give anyway. Here's the even cooler part: When you give donors choices, they become better donors — even those who don't exercise any choice at all!
5. Use a hackneyed cliché
Clichés work. They work because they're peculiarly vivid. They tap in to shared ideas and emotions with just a few well-worn words. They do that more quickly and effectively than paragraphs of elegant copy that might have flown from the demigod-like pen of E.B. White.
6. Ban the committees
If you make fundraising decisions by committee, I guarantee you're making poor decisions. If committees are reviewing your fundraising messages, you are flushing revenue down the toilet. They kill so much that's strong, good or original. That's the nature of committees.
Instead, make your decisions and review with a small number of people — I'm talking two to four. Each of those people has a clearly defined area of expertise. Each of them has authority only over his or her area. No grandstanding, no showing off. Just the right decisions by the right people who are responsible for their individual decisions. Do it. Watch quality and income rise.