A. Sharpe, Copywriter
What do high-performing appeals and Harry Potter have in common? And, in both cases, what makes donors give and readers buy even when they’re going through a rough financial patch? The answer? Creative writing principles that will grab your readers’ attention and keep them reading. The principles that make novels like Harry Potter phenomenally successful and that sell millions apply to fundraising appeals as well.
“Remember this: You can mail a perfectly respectable donor acquisition package to the wrong list and lose everything, including your job. But you can also mail a mediocre (or even bad) package to a good list and lose money. Testing reduces your risk.” — Fundraising letter writer, instructor, author and newsletter publisher Alan Sharpe in the Sept. 21 edition of his free weekly e-newsletter, Raiser Sharpe Focus. Sign up at www.RaiserSharpe.com
Transform First-time Direct-mail Donors Into Repeat Givers Feb. 14, 2006 By Alan Sharpe I know an executive director who, over the course of a 20-year career at the helm of a national charity, signed every single donor acknowledgment that left his office. He took them home after work, sometimes working his way through a pile of 300 thank-you notes before retiring for the evening. To my knowledge, he never tested his method against generic, computer-generated gift acknowledgments. But you can imagine which method worked best at turning his first-time donors into repeat givers. He seemed to know intuitively that the most important gift in