Old Dog Fundraising

Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.

Writing a successful fundraising communication — be it an e-appeal, social media post, direct mail letter, personal letter, program copy or anything else — can feel daunting. Especially given the high rate of failure (since 100% response is rare), having to write the ask can seem like a pathway to failure.

While the concept of fundraising via e-appeals and mail may sound so last century, I assure you it is an important foundational piece for a fundraising program of the 2020s.

Direct response is not as sexy as taking donors to the golf course or hosting the annual major donor cruise, but I’m proud of what I do because I have seen the results of the money I have raised over the years. And if someone says to me, “Oh, you do junk mail?” that’s OK.

As a writer of fundraising copy, one of my frustrations is having to create copy on a regular basis with little material to work with.

Much of what we knew about fundraising before COVID-19 seems to have gone out the window, and “nimble” has been the new No. 1 skill.

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