Speaking of Fundraising: Copywriting for the Post-Recession
The recession that has dragged us down for the better part of two years can't last forever. So here's an important question: As much as you've been wishing and praying for this crisis to finally go away, what have you been doing to prepare for it?
Many of us have tried to cope with the hard times by adopting a hunker-down attitude. We got a lot more conservative about our mail and e-marketing strategies and much more cautious about our creative.
But as the dark clouds start to lift, we're likely to find that it's a lot harder than we expected to shed that bunker mentality and start acting with confidence again. So here are seven tips to help you get back up on the horse:
1. Snap out of it! "Fundraisers' outlook remains gloomy," said a headline in early August from Philanthropy Journal. Maybe so, but please remember that this is a confidence-driven economy. Markets rise and tumble to a degree on consumer behavior but to an even greater degree on consumer confidence. Donors want to support a winner. Hold your head high, and convince them you are one. Yes, it takes guts, but victory always does.
2. Proclaim the end of the recession. Remember, one of the fundamentals of direct marketing is you have to tell your readers what to think, how to feel and what to do. In a universe where we say things like, "Place your gift, along with this form, in the enclosed envelope," you can bet you have to begin by telling them why they should give again.
3. Stick with what works. Yes, that's the same thing you were being told in all those how-to-survive-the-recession articles. And it's still true. Proven strategies should always prevail because they're, well, proven. The difference is that now they should be a dominant part of your creative mix instead of your sole philosophy.
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 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, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.