February 5, 2014
March 19th and 20th
Faith and Giving Workshop
“Creating a Culture of Generosity”
November 23, 2013
Is your appeal letter…appealing?
By Ruth McLean Dawson, Nonprofit Coach and Consultant
It is that time of year when nonprofits are sending out or getting ready to send out the annual appeal. Statistics tell us that a nonprofit could be raising up to 40% of its donations during the last six weeks of the year. Here are three tips to help you make your 2013 appeal your best:
- Tell a story. A compelling story about real people that connect the donor to your work is a must have as part of an effective appeal. Motivate your readers and donors to act.
- It is all about the donor. Review your draft – how many times did you use the word “you” instead of “I” or “we”? The appeal letter is about the donor and what will be accomplished through their investment.
- Can the reader skim the letter? A strong appeal letter is designed to skim, most readers are going to see the upper right, the salutation, the signature, the P.S., then return to any pictures, headings, bullets and underlines. Do not lose your best efforts in the middle of a paragraph. Lots of white space with simple and legible fonts (at least 12 point) make a difference.
And a bonus idea…the signature, the P.S., a handwritten note all make a difference. Get your board and staff involved and have them write a personal note that conveys urgency and appreciation. Do not forget to integrate your appeal with your online presence – drive traffic to your website, be sure your “Donate Now” button is easy to find and easy to use, do an email blast, and use social media to promote participation and giving.
Questions or ideas? Do you want to know more? Contact Ruth at email@example.com.
Ruth recently led a workshop on Preparing to Launch a Strategic Plan at the SCeNE Fall Forum. Ruth has extensive experience working with nonprofits at local, regional, national, and international levels – direct service, management, and development – and spent several years at the Foundation Center. She has a Master’s Degree in Risk, Crisis, and Disaster Management and her current efforts are focused on helping nonprofits with organizational sustainability – planning, quality, and fundraising.