17. Don’t focus on huge numbers
In fundraising, one is greater than 21 million. “The human brain does not know how to deal with giant numbers. We only know how to respond emotionally to small numbers,” Brooks said. “People don’t give to a problem because it’s big; they do it because they think they can solve it.”
Focus your need to one story, one person in need, how your gift can save a life. That way, the donor believes his or her gift can and will actually help solve the problem, not that it’s a hopeless effort.
18. Make the letter longer
“Longer copy works better,” Brooks said. “We don’t really know why, but it works.”
19. Design is boring
Don’t focus on fancy designs and intricate fonts. People want to be able to read your letter. Plain, black type on white paper works the best, in readable fonts. Don’t get fancy. It’s all about readability.
20. Get rid of the teaser
“Most teasers are bad, and it’s really hard to do one,” Brooks warned. However, he urged fundraisers to test this. In fact, he admitted, “the really, really big winners usually do have a teaser.” Trick is … it has to be a good one.
21. Put a live First Class stamp on the return envelope
It boosts response, but at some level, it’s not worth it, Brooks said. If someone gives less than $100 a year or so, or wherever your organization’s cutoff point is, it may not be worth it.
22. Write at a sixth-grade reading level
That doesn’t mean write as if you’re writing to a sixth grader. It means things like using short sentences and short words. Make it easier to read. It’s all about lowering the pain and struggle level for your donors, Brooks said.