Old Fundraising Ways, New Fundraising Ways
What’s the ONE purpose of this communication?
Always start by determining what is the real purpose of the communication — the one thing you want to accomplish through it — before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
That one purpose doesn’t have any “ands” in it. If you want to raise money, that’s the sole focus of your message. If you want to tell donors about an upcoming event, that’s the message.
Newsletters (print and online) may have multiple messages, and you can give prominence to some by where you place the article. But if you want to raise money, talk about what the donor’s gift will do. Help donors “see” the project through your words. Make it exciting, life-saving, urgent or whatever — but don’t make it buried in with other purposes.
What is working for other people?
Although I am a great fan of emails and letters other fundraisers send, I usually have no idea if what I am looking at is the biggest fundraising breakthrough since the mass mailing or if it’s a colossal dud that made a lot of employees feel good but did nothing to increase income and donor loyalty.
So you need to dig deeper and see what’s being mailed or sent electronically again and again (we have to assume that most nonprofits don’t resend failures). Some articles take a hard look at particular campaigns, and those are worth studying. Workshops and seminars often do the same.
You should also check out Who’s Mailing What! if you haven’t done so already. “Borrowing” from a failed fundraising campaign is just too expensive of a mistake to make, so looking at what’s working for others — in your vertical or not — can be a worthwhile shortcut.
What’s the proof my target audience needs?
Your donor or prospect may not need the same level of evidence the government or a foundation board needs. People, of course, want to know that their investment is going to make a difference. Your job is to demonstrate that without leaving them staggering under the weight of the “proof” you provide.