Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ideas That Work

idea icon
Letter Writing 101 (part 2)

Last week I began this topic by providing 5 steps to begin crafting a successful fundraising letter. Those steps were:
  • Start with a need.
  • Determine if a letter is the appropriate vehicle for for your request.
  • Fire up your need.
  • Tell a passionate story.
  • Keeping the reader's interest in mind.
As we continue this topic, consider a few more points to ensure that your direct mail program is successful.

  • Test. What constitutes a successful direct mail appeal is this and only this - what is the return on the letter? Try your letter on a representative sample of your prospect base. See if the response is as good as you felt it should be. Better yet, you might try two different letters on two samples. Whatever provides the best response is the letter for you. It might not be the one you like best, but it isn't about what you like, it's about what works.
  • Make it easy to respond. Every mailing should have a clear return slip and envelope with return address. The response slip might have suggested levels of donation. If you do this, make sure that the prospective donors all fit the levels indicated. Nothing is more deflating than a $1,000 donor giving $50 because that is the top level on the request form. Better yet, you might want to talk to this donor personally.
  • Ask for a specific amount. This may be based on last year's gift or known capacity to give or whatever, but it is a good idea to ask for an amount, this sets donor sites higher.
  • P.S. - use it. It is an idiosyncrasy in most of us that we scan most mail before reading it. As a result, the postscript occupies valuable real estate, isolated from the rest of the letter. This is the spot to sweeten the pot with another emotional appeal or a special offer.
  • Don't be afraid of punctuation. This is important. In our rush to read, the writer needs tools to help the reader pay attention. Without the help of punctuation, I'd say,

    " The ability to grab the reader is hard indeed."

    Just remember, that like certain spices, a little can go a long way, so reserve this for the critical points.

Keep these points in mind when writing your next "Dear friend" letter and you may find you have a better response.


Post a Comment