Little Dogs ... Big Tricks
But hey, don't just take my word for it. A good friend of mine who has been working as a development professional for more than 40 years and has helped countless organizations raise many, many millions of dollars loves to share his own story about this.
At his first job in the development department of a college, his boss encouraged him to write the fundraising appeals for the school. But my friend knew enough to know what he didn't know. So he sought a good fundraising copywriter and hired him.
After the appeals were written, mailed and tabulated, the college's net revenue grew more than 30 percent that year alone.
Ever since that eye-opening experience, he tells even the smallest nonprofit organizations to follow his example and hire a professional writer. He tells them it's the best investment they will ever make.
While I can't guarantee 30 percent growth, if you hire the right writer, I can guarantee that not only will your revenue grow, but because your appeals will make strong emotional connections with your donors, your relationships with them will grow as well.
Big Tip #4: Invest in donor-acquisition mailings
I can't tell you how many small nonprofits have told me that they simply cannot afford to acquire new donors through direct mail. I then ask them if their donor files are shrinking every year. They often say yes, but usually not by much. OK, I say, you may be fortunate and holding on to most of your donors from year to year, but if the trend continues unabated, you will eventually have no donors at all. It's simple arithmetic. Constant subtraction, no matter how small the number, will eventually get you to zero.
The formula for the success of any direct-mail appeal follows the 50-30-20 rule, which means that 50 percent of an appeal's success depends on the mailing list, 30 percent depends on the offer, and the remaining 20 percent depends on the copywriting.