12 Tips for Bulking Up Your Offer
"People love stories," Gaffny said. "We're nosey. We love to hear what other people are up to."
Rule No. 6: Romance it and dramatize it
Make it big, big, big, he said. Position your offer on your outer envelope so recipients can't miss it. Don't be shy about asking for a big gift. Give donors a place at the table, use odd gift amounts, and attach recognition to an amount. Gaffny also stressed giving the donor a deal, i.e., something that gives her incentive (something free, perhaps) to donate now. Let her visualize making a difference.
For one of its mailings, Covenant House shows a picture of a bed in a lift note to show donors what their donation provides for a child.
Rule No. 7: Package it to shine
Don't hide your offer inside. And don't forget to repeat it often. Use the P.S. (it's one of the most-read parts of a letter, Gaffny said). Use images to dramatize your point.
For example, Pine Street Inn, a Boston-based shelter, included in one of its direct mailings a photograph of a park bench, with adjoining copy that read, "To most people this is a bench, but to some it is a bed."
And use a format that reinforces your offer. When you need people to step up with big gifts, use a stunning format with a lot of high-end elements. When you’re looking for $10 and $15 gifts, mail something on the simpler side, employing things like faux handwriting or the brown paper bag mailing.
Rule No. 8: Make it about the donor
Your copy should be all about how great and needed the donor is — not about you.
Rule No. 9: Sell the psychological benefits a donor gets
- Feeling good about giving
- Thinking of herself as a compassionate person
- Helping to make the world a better place
From a Special Olympics letter: "Being deeply involved in Special Olympics, I think I can recognize real commitment when I see it. And I see it, Mrs. Sample, in you."
Rule No. 10: Be relevant and timely
Gaffny shared an example of a mailing the Lincoln Center sent to people who had just attended one of its events. The letter begins, "A few nights ago, you did something that made you the envy of tens of thousands of performing arts patrons around the world — you visited Lincoln Center … "