FOCUS ON: LISTS Feeling Exhausted? Your prospecting lists — and you — can get a much-needed pick-me-up with an influx of nams from commercial files.
There are the universally admired causes that can find a sympathetic heart on any list. Who can argue with finding a cure for cancer, preventing birth defects, ending hunger? Then there are issue-oriented, polarizing causes that can only rally the troops from specific types of interest lists. Strategically exploring commercial markets can breathe new life into your membership.
Elizabeth Korsun is a vice president, data acquisition, and Erin Dolan a senior broker, data acquisition, at ALC, a Princeton, N.J.-based list-management company. They can be reached through www.alc.com.
More Lessons From the Other Side
Nonprofits can benefit by adapting creative concepts from their commercial counterparts.
By ROBERT LEROSE
Mounting a convincing sales argument requires mastering the keys of persuasion, including an in-depth understanding of, and empathy with, the prospect; fluency in your product; a bold, believable, clearly defined promise; proof of your claims; and organization of your sales argument in a captivating presentation.
The purpose of direct mail, whether commercial or nonprofit, is to persuade the recipient to take decisive action that will benefit both him and the mailer — to respond favorably to an offer or, in the case of nonprofits, an appeal.
You can draw on common commercial copywriting techniques, adapt and apply them to non-profit copy.
Unique selling proposition
In a commercial letter, the unique selling proposition shows the prospect the one clear way the product is superior to its competition. It distinguishes itself from the pack. Nonprofits can follow this lead by separating and distinguishing themselves from similar organizations in donors’ minds. This is critical when the organization’s identity isn’t well known, or its mission overlapswith a competing charity.
Commercial mailers often will include, “This is the only resource that … “ in their copy and state what makes the product unique. Adapting this to read, “Our organization is the only one that …” or, “Our organization is in the best position to accomplish this because … “ forces you to forge a clear, unforgettable identity in the donor’s mind.