Lead the Way
“How to Look Good Naked” … “Yard Crashers” … “Pimp My Ride” … “Extreme Makeover” … “Kitchen Nightmares” … “What Not to Wear” … “This Old House” … “Makeover Manor” — we are a society obsessed with transformation, renovation and beautification projects.
And while I can’t match the pimpologists’ promise to “turn your hooptie into a dope-ass, date magnet,” I see plenty of letter copy that could benefit from a talented wordsmith’s makeover.
I don’t mean changing the offer — although lackluster offers also abound. Instead, I suggest restyling the language to get your offer noticed, in a good way.
Your letter’s lead, the opening, is paramount. It occupies precious real estate in terms of what’s most likely to get read in a package, and its purpose is to capture interest and nudge the donor along toward the offer.
The following are alterations of real examples:
This year marks the 72nd year of the ABC Charity Do Good Program — a community action program that distributes all sorts of goods and services to millions of needy people throughout the country every year.
For over 100 years, ABC Charity has been the voice of the people for protecting what needs protecting in America.
Both are important statements that might have a place somewhere in the letter, but neither are very captivating, intriguing or emotionally charged.
Then there’s this one, and all the variations of it that are commonly used like a warm-up act: I have a very special reason for sending you this letter.
It’s not a cliff-hanger, because the second sentence usually explains why. It’s just taking up space — a wallflower.
And finally, because it happens every four years, these two:
Our nation is at a crossroads. This election will determine the direction we take.
This has been an exciting year in politics.