Special Report: Fundraising 101 Direct Mail
There’s a lot to consider — such as window envelope or closed face;
No. 10, 6-inch-by-9-inch or some other format; live postage or indicia; and, yes, teaser copy or no teaser copy. Think about your audience and the mind space your charity occupies; then put yourself in your readers’ shoes and discover what would pull them in. So when you’ve got that done, it’s time to tackle the letter, right? Uh, not yet.
Rookie Mistake No. 3 — Overlooking the response device
Rookies usually write the response-device copy as an afterthought once the letter is done. Bad idea. Before you start your letter, you want to be clear on where it will lead your readers — and it should lead directly to the response device. Think about the format of your response device. Will it be perfed off the letter or freestanding? What’s the size? Will you include financial-data pie charts, testimonial quotes or other credibility builders?
And when it comes to copy, refer to your plan. You want your call to action to be direct and clear, and to highlight one or more specific reasons to give now. This is vital. A good response device not only asks for the donation, but also reinforces the reasons to give.
Actually, there are two schools of thought on whether to work out the response device or the carrier first. Both components are critical to the
success of your appeal, so decide for yourself. The point is, doing these first makes it easier to write the letter. Why? Because now you know exactly where the goal line is.
Rookie Mistake No. 4 — Failing to consider donor benefits
Benefits? In fundraising letters? Absolutely. While copywriters tend to think of benefits only in business-to-business or consumer promotions, the fact is that benefits motivate donors to give.