The Case for Trust
Here's the thing: Each person who offers an opinion is commenting from his or her own perspective. People evaluate through the lens of their professional experiences, from the context of their lives and what they think will move them personally to make a gift. Yet, they are not your donor or prospect.
More important, the psychological and emotional dynamic of simply being asked for an opinion creates its own state of mind. You're asking that person to do you a favor and positioning him or her as your consultant and your expert. That's how each person will see his or her role, and that's how he or she will respond to you.
Meanwhile, chances are good that your agency has created and tested thousands of direct-mail packages and been held accountable for the results. Consider the team that created the package:
- An account executive who knows your program and its goals and has studied your past results, carefully analyzed your lists and worked closely with the creative team to make sure that just the right people get this particular message …
- a writer who has proved him- or herself by creating hundreds or thousands of successful appeals and spent hours considering just how to craft the opening, the hook, the ask and all the emotional touchpoints …
- an artist who has spent a career mastering the subliminal visual nuances that influence the reader.
All of them are specifically in the business of raising the most money while building a strong and lasting relationship with the donor. They've been down this road many, many times.
As a result, it's very likely that, in developing the package, they have already considered most of the comments you'll get. They thought them through based on their years of experience seeing what works and what doesn't.
Willis believes in expressive writing, exceptional fundraising, and exuberant living.
Willis Turner is the senior copywriter at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He was an experienced writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 20 years before making the switch to fundraising nearly 15 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, as well as collateral materials and communications, that get attention, tell emotional stories, and persuade people to take action or make a donation.