An Offer They Can't Refuse
Reviewing the inserts, it wasn’t easy to determine why the tiny crutch was included other than for shock value. The color red was used strategically throughout the communication. The font size was selectively ramped up for emphasis. All of the four inserts were photo-heavy with case studies of children affected by land mines and an unbelievable initiative that was both sad and hopeful. So, I took the plunge, crossed out my colleague’s name on the reply form and mailed my donation.
Within two weeks I received an acknowledgment — a hand-addressed envelope including a letter with the standard reference to the gift amount and date — but the overall tone was anything but standard. My small, single gift was acknowledged in a big way. Phrases including “warmest thanks,” “generous contribution,” “I thank you sincerely” and “together we are accomplishing remarkable feats” stood out. The final personal touch on the letter was a handwritten “thank you.”
Also included was a simple, four-color, three-panel brochure highlighting a case study of Fymée from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and her amazing two-month transformation. The headline of the brochure noted, “Your gift mends lives, like Fymée’s.” The brochure also stated, “You make a profound difference” and “You enable children to walk again.” The focus was on me, the donor — and how my contribution made a difference. It made me feel appreciated and wanting to do more.
In sum, remember that while donor engagement is good, retention is gold. The name of the game is not just about getting the letter in front of the reader or the de rigueur acknowledgments. The real payoff comes by standing out amid the clutter and writing copy from the heart, not the brain, to make donors feel like they make things happen.