11 Commandments of Fundraising, Part 3
Sometimes we design our reply cards to accommodate automation or the preferences of the donation-processing team. Work with the team to find the best solution, but don't end up with a design that makes processing easy but drives donors away. If it's too hard to use your reply card, donors may simply give up.
Commandment No. 10: Thou shalt not save the teaser (or e-mail subject line) for the last second
These are not unimportant details of the mailing or e-mail. Rather, the few words in your teaser or subject line can determine if your message is read. Think of a newspaper headline; how often do you read an article because the headline caught your eye (and your imagination)?
Take time and care to write the most compelling teaser or subject line possible. It's the best way to ensure that the rest of your copy has a chance to present your case to your prospective supporter.
Commandment No. 11: Thou shalt not try to be who you aren't
This commandment is broken when nonprofits seize an opportunity to raise money when they don't have the systems in place to respond properly to the need. Think about any natural disaster in recent years; inevitably, a few nonprofits jumped on the "Us, too!" bandwagon and raised money without having programs in place to efficiently use the money to do the most good.
No one wants to leave money on the table. But diluting your nonprofit's efforts to try to develop a program that is outside your core competencies only hurts the great work you are doing in your area of expertise. Avoid the temptation to be who you aren't, and instead be the absolute best at fulfilling your mission.
If you've been at this challenge we call fundraising for long, there are probably a few commandments you follow that I didn't mention. Feel free to share them with colleagues below. The better we all are at fundraising, the better our world can become.
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.