Posted on 09/21/2021 at 01:26 PM by Meredith Bombella
Without doubt, direct mail is the bellwether for fundraising in the United States.
Nonprofits use it to solicit donations for starving children, neglected animals, wounded veterans, and numerous other underserved markets.
The money a donor gives in response to a direct mail letter may help build a house, buy medicine for the homeless, or help fund research to fight cancer, Alzheimer’s, or a myriad of life-threatening diseases.
The increase in giving in 2020 over 2019 was 4.85% and mostly from individuals. This was despite COVID and direct mail was likely a major reason as many charitable fund-raising events did not happen in 2020 (Here is the link to this report which is done each year).
But the stakes are high; nonprofit budgets are low, and you could end up spending more than you collect – unless you know what you are doing.
So, how do you structure a letter that motivates people to give to your cause?
The first thing you must remember is, unlike traditional marketing, fundraising asks people to give money without getting anything in return.
That’s why you need to understand the underlying emotions motivating your donors to give.
If you focus your copy on YOUR story, YOUR needs, YOUR mission, and all the people YOU help, you will earn disappointing results. The donor wants to be the hero.
Keep all your copy focused on the interests, desires, needs, and concerns of your donor. After all, you are trying to get them to give you their money.
Even though you are keeping everything donor-centered, don’t be shy about asking them to send money.
Just make sure you tell them how you are going to put their money to work. Donors want to know what impact their money will have. Be specific and tell them.
We’re all skeptical. We’ve all heard the news reports of nonprofits raising millions of dollars and then spending that money on staff retreats. You’ve got to distance yourself from all that bad publicity.
That’s why a good fundraising letter must have a personal feel. The tone, the “voice,” the design of the piece – it all has to come together to create trust.
When your prospect trusts you, believes you, and is emotionally moved by your words, they will compel themselves to give to your cause.
Yes, they will sell themselves. You simply have to transfer your emotions to their emotions. Not an easy task. But if you do it right, you can save a life... improve a community...and empower people.
Andrick & Associates has a team of experienced fundraising copywriters, designers, and fundraising strategists to help you achieve your donor acquisition goals. Call us at (941) 351-6565 for a free consultation.