Spelling Out the Steps to a Powerful Annual Appeal
Forget to put the ask in context. What did your organization do with the funds raised last year? Let readers know how their dollars are making a difference and how they can grow with the organization.
Forget to say thank you. A little gratitude can have a big impact on how potential donors perceive an organization.
Annual appeal letter checklist
Use this checklist to plan out your annual appeal.
Hook: How do you reel in prospective donors and meet the fundraising goals for your appeal? With an irresistible hook. Hooks come in many shapes and sizes and should be carefully crafted to appeal to and resonate with target audiences. This is the foundation of your appeal letter and the biggest opportunity to stand out from the competition.
Supporting anecdote: Stories are about people. The best stories focus around a central character and are easy for target audiences to relate to. Luckily, nonprofits have no shortage of great stories to share. Talk with staff, volunteers, board members, strategic partners, key funders and other audiences to find out what experiences have impacted them the most. These are keen insights that can help you select the right anecdote to resonate with the right audience(s).
Community/client impact: Supporters want to know that their donations are making a difference. Whether they donate $50 to a specific program or make an in-kind gift of goods/services, people need to know how their donations will be put to work. Consider adding a sidebar of donation equivalencies to your appeal to help people understand how easy it is to make an impact while reinforcing the fact that every dollar counts.
Desired action/outcome: In the content-marketing era, there is no shortage of great information. The question is, what do you want people to do with it? When crafting your appeal letter, don’t assume anything. Whether you want people to share an electronic appeal with five friends via email, share your appeal video on their social networks or commit to a monthly donation amount, spell it out and make it enticing.