Showing Results Without Killing Fundraising
Once your copy is written (for online or offline), read it out loud. Does it sound like a conversation or like a soliloquy? Is it weaving the donor ("you" in copy) into the solution, or is it all about "us" and what "we" do?
Take every opportunity to share success. Outside of fundraising, you have many communications with your donors that offer you a chance to share success. For example, when mailing a receipt, include a small newsletter with two or three success stories. After all, you are paying for First Class postage, so get your ounce worth.
Electronic communications are (relatively) inexpensive, and a monthly success report can help you share the good news. Post short videos that show and tell the positive things your organization accomplished with a donor's gift — and make sure your donors know about the videos. ("It's on our website" is not acceptable; few donors will take the time to go on a website scavenger hunt to find hidden gems.) Provide links in e-mails, simple URLs to type in when you mention the videos in your receipts and prominent links on your website.
Always tie success back to the gifts you receive from donors. This is another place where "we" can be overused. "We did this" is fine, but continue with "because of your generosity." Help donors see themselves in the solutions, envisioning themselves as partners who are working alongside you. No, they may not be digging the ditch or cooking the meal, but they are just as important as the people who do — so make sure they understand that.
I received an e-mail recently that included in the copy, "But there is hope — and that hope is YOU." Yes, the entire e-mail was about need and how I could help with a gift. But that one line said, "It works because of you."