Guidance for Mail Appeals

Fundraisers have to get and hold the attention of potential donors, and that is easier said than done.

In his book “The Zen of Fundraising,” Ken Burnett maintains that nonprofits be acutely aware of the communications they send to potential donors, in terms of both content and presentation. He urges fundraisers to be more self critical of what they produce so they send only creative and effective communications. This includes saving money by not sending inappropriate and poorly constructed material.

Burnett offers the following advice to get the best possible results out of donor solicitations:

* Constantly measure donors’ interest in and reactions to what they receive from you. Learn from this.

* Ask yourself whether or not your donors actually read what you send them.

* Never be dull, bland or unmoving. Communicate with passion. Nonprofits have the best stories in the world to tell, and the best reasons for telling them.

* Invest in good pictures and in people who can write compellingly, with power and passion.

*Design for readability, understanding that there is a big difference between presentations in print (where even the right typeface can matter) and those in electronic format.

* Send less but better. Make sure what goes to donors is only the truly excellent.

How are you keeping your appeals at the highest level?

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About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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