11 Commandments of Fundraising, Part 3
Over the last two weeks, I've shared the first seven of my 11 commandments for fundraising. Two weeks ago, I discussed the first four:
- Thou shalt not "take time off."
- Thou shalt not ignore all the options available to you.
- Thou shalt not bore.
- Thou shalt not pander to.
Last week, I covered three more commandments:
- Thou shalt learn from others, but never assume.
- Thou shalt not muddle your "ask."
- Thou shalt write like people speak.
Following are the remaining four commandments that can help you apply best practices and time-tested strategies in your fundraising — and avoid the mistakes that undermine our best efforts.
Commandment No. 8: Thou shalt remember that people aren't readers
It's not the length of your letter, e-mail or newsletter that can keep people from reading about your needs and the proven solutions you hope they will fund. Most people read what interests them, even if it's more than a few paragraphs. What they set aside is something that looks like it's just going to be too much work to read.
Your task is to make your fundraising look like an easy read. Some ways to make your copy visually appealing include using an easy-to-read font; indenting paragraphs and double-spacing between them; adding white space (one-inch margins at a minimum, for example); making it easy for scanners by having a P.S. that sums up the offer; and sparingly including bolding, underlining and all capital letters. With conversational language (see Commandment No. 7) and an "easy read look," your donors may at the very least scan your copy and pick up the main points, and some will read it "cover to cover."
Commandment No. 9: Thou shalt make the reply form user-friendly
Yes, there's a lot of information you need to put on your reply form. But squeezing it in may not be a good solution. Is there enough room for your donors to provide the information you ask for, and can they write in their credit card numbers legibly? Is it easy to designate a gift to every project you wrote about that needs funding?
Pamela consults with nonprofits, 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. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.