Hot Copy to Melt Hearts During the Cold Months
If you are among the many nonprofits that raise 40 percent or more of their annual incomes in December, you might already be thinking about your year-end appeals. Indeed, with so much at stake, beginning the process during the hot summer months barely can be considered an early start.
Even so, you still have time to take a step back and really think about how to reach your donors during those tricky months when they're bombarded by requests for money. How might you best get their attention and then hold it with the copy you write?
More and more, people read less and less. Thank you, Internet. So whether it's a direct-mail piece, e-mail message or integrated campaign, you need to get to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible to not only get your readers' attention, but also to get them to make donations.
Here's one approach you might try. Let's assume you're passionate about the issue that your organization addresses. Ask yourself: Why? Why do you care?
1. Now free-associate
List as many reasons as you can. After you write down all of the usual answers and think you're done, keep going. Get through the initial round of answers, and find out what's on the other side. Just keep free-associating.
Some things on your list will be logical, some emotional, some academic and some downright visceral. Write down everything that comes to mind, even reasons that might seem ridiculous or bad. There are no bad ideas while you're brainstorming. Spend at least an hour free-associating about why you care. And try not to let your pen stop moving.
2. Find your hook
After an hour, set your list aside. If you have time to leave it for a day, that's ideal. But leave it at least for a couple of hours. The important thing is that you come back to it fresh.