Special Report: Fundraising 101 Direct Mail
For fundraising, benefits range from simply feeling good about giving,
to thinking of oneself as a compassionate person, to helping make the
world a better place. For example, think about your nonprofit. How is it making an impact? How is it making a difference in people’s lives, local communities, the world? These are big benefits to donors that are powerful reasons to give.
Rookie Mistake No. 5 — Avoiding the ask
Rookie writers often shy away from asking for donations. They think it’s pushy. Sorry, but that’s just wrong. Remember, this is direct mail, so be direct and tell your recipients exactly what you want them to do. You want them to donate.
Don’t soften the ask with words like “support,” “partnership” or “friendship.” These words are fine in other parts of your letter, of course, but when the moment of truth arrives, come right out and ask for a donation. Say, “please donate now,” along with one or more compelling reasons why your reader should.
Rookie Mistake No. 6 — Writing ‘purple prose’
Yes, you want your stories and your descriptions of the need to spark emotion in your readers. But if you overuse adjectives and metaphors, you risk ending up with drivel like this: “The awesome burden of Sasha’s unending poverty fell like a heavy weight upon her small shoulders, and as she struggled to provide for herself and her kids and considered the hopelessness of her plight, the tears streamed down her face like rain on a window pane.”
Wow — what drama! The problem is, the drama is so phony that it upstages credibility.
Save the florid writing for your 1940s-era detective novel. The best stories and descriptions for fundraising are ones that tell themselves without embellishment. Think Hemingway. Be direct. That’s how to pull readers in.
Go back and reread your stories and descriptions with an eye toward eliminating unneeded adjectives and adverbs. Instead, focus on strong verbs. That’s where the power is, because verbs are action, and people lock onto writing that has action. Your copy will move readers. It will have the ring of truth.