USP? BOM? WTH?
Retailers have become experts at driving traffic, creating a sense of urgency with their increasing reliance on sales. They know how to get their customers up off the couch and into the stores this coming weekend. What reasons are you giving your donors to donate today?
Reread one of your direct-mail letters from last year. Could you just as easily be sending this same letter out in your next mailing? I hope not!
While the overarching reasons to give might not have changed in the last 12 months, your latest appeal letter should tell donors what you’ve done with their previous donations, how much progress you’ve made recently and how your current efforts would benefit if only they made a gift right now. Why should they give today and not next month, or even next year?
Now that you’re busy rewriting that appeal letter, take an even closer look at the reasons to give. Does your letter go on and on about whales, or dolphins caught in tuna nets, or bears in India? While this might be central to your mission and should be the cornerstone of any fundraising letter, don’t forget about what’s in it for potential donors. Why should they give? What will they get out of it?
Advertisers in the commercial sector refer to this as benefit-oriented messaging. Instead of touting that their laundry detergents now include color-safe bleach, our crafty commercial advertisers will say that their products have been reformulated to now get your whites whiter. They’re selling the “sizzle,” not the “steak.”
Promoting benefits is easy for some membership organizations. Oftentimes they have membership cards that entitle donors to discounts at local restaurants, theaters, galleries, etc. But there are other forms of benefits, too. If your organization has a donor newsletter or sends electronic updates, don’t forget to promote this benefit as well. (Example: Our quarterly newsletter will keep you updated on all our rescue efforts, so you’ll learn firsthand, from those in the field, how your dollars are making changes in India.)