Spelling Out the Steps to a Powerful Annual Appeal
Creating an annual appeal letter is business as usual for many nonprofit organizations. The challenge is that as the fiscal year draws to a close, nearly every nonprofit is seeking financial support at the same time. For supporters, this translates into mailbox and inbox overload and the challenging task of deciding which cause(s) to support.
Before sending your next appeal letter, take a step back and develop a strategy that breaks through the clutter, drives action and inspires meaningful change.
Quantify the impact your organization has had on the community it serves. How many people did you help this year? How many new programs did you launch?
Make your mission personal. Stories are about people. Focus on a central character or anecdote, and use the story to further emphasize your organization’s importance and impact.
Relate to your audience. Nonprofits do many great things in their communities. The question is, what matters most to the person reading your appeal letter?
Get creative. Who says annual appeal letters have to come in No. 10 envelopes? Who says they can’t be written by a client?
Increase your reach. Consider sending an electronic appeal in addition to a hard-copy letter. Include links for recipients to share the appeal across their own social channels.
Incentivize readers to donate. Will a corporate partner match individual donations? Will the donor’s name be listed on a commemorative plaque?
Follow the pack. Who says annual appeal letters have to be sent at the close of the fiscal or calendar year?
Pen a short novel. Short, sweet and to the point will do the trick.
Use graphics to enhance the story. People’s attention spans are limited, and their time is precious.
Make the appeal the sole touchpoint with key funders for the year. It is much easier to ask for and secure donations from those who have an ongoing relationship with the organization.