Thursday, August 3, 2023
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How NOT to jot down a fundraising letter


Have you ever ever written a fundraising letter? A fundraising letter you felt actually proud about? One which offered your nonprofit in a tremendous mild. That confirmed how good you had been working in your trigger. One which was positive to persuade donors to provide to you?

I’ve too. And I wager your fundraising letter hardly raised any cash.

Writing fundraising letters is difficult

Modifying fundraising letters is likely one of the companies I present for my teaching shoppers, so I’ve been doing quite a lot of modifying this fall.

I do know writing fundraising letters is difficult. However I’m starting to suppose that nonprofit professionals cease half-way by the method.

I ask shoppers for letters they’re able to ship. These usually have:

  • Lengthy, run-on sentences
  • Plenty of references to the nonprofit
  • success tales and
  • scant reference to the reader in any respect – till on the finish once they ask the reader to provide to help their work.

That is 100% typical. And 100% methods to not write a fundraising letter.

Efficient fundraising letters go additional

I feel that is the primary half of the letter. Writing is difficult. However modifying is commonly tougher. Listed here are 4 steps that needs to be included within the second spherical of modifying:

  1. Minimize the primary 4 paragraphs: Dangerous fundraising letters begin with quite a lot of “throat clearing.” “The climate’s getting cooler…” “The vacations are a time of…” “Wanting round our neighborhood…” Pandemicsplaining – as if folks want educating on what a pandemic is and the way it’s hurting folks. This throat clearing usually goes on for 3 or 4 paragraphs. So lower these. Despite the fact that these have fantastic phrases that you’re notably happy with. Save the phrases in some file if you would like. However don’t ship them to your donor.
  2. Give them an issue to unravel: Dangerous fundraising letters showcase successful story. “We’re so good, take a look at how nicely this particular person is doing.” However as Steven Display says each Friday, it’s important to give donors an issue to unravel. If donors learn successful story, it sounds to them like you have got every thing beneath management. So that you clearly don’t want their assist. Profitable fundraising letters lower out the success tales and save them for the thanks notice and impression report you’ll ship a donor after they provide.
  3. Cease asking folks to pay your payments: I get to work with superb organizations. Organizations which are considerably impacting folks, communities, animals, and the atmosphere. However almost all of them use some type of phrasing like: “Will you assist us do our work along with your present immediately?” Almost all of them are saying, will you please pay our payments for us? Nobody needs to pay your payments. However numerous folks would like to be a part of the change you need to see on the earth. Why not ask them “Will you take care of a stray animal?” or “Will you protect this piece of historical past?” or “Will you home this household?”
  4. Give your letter the crimson pen take a look at: One method to be sure to’re not asking donors to pay your payments, is to take away all references of your nonprofit out of your letter. Significantly. Donors aren’t dumb. They know who despatched them the letter. They know who’ll get their present. To do that, take a crimson pen and circle all “we’s” – we, our, us, and references to your nonprofit. These phrases put your fundraising within the crimson. With a black pen, circle all “you’s” – you, your, yours, and references to the reader. These phrases put your fundraising within the black. I name this the Pink Pen Problem. Tremendous easy. Extremely highly effective. This one take a look at alone can remodel your fundraising letter from one thing folks toss within the recycling bin to one thing they really take note of.

Don’t cease your fundraising letter half means by the method

As you’re working arduous in your fundraising letters, bear in mind to not cease them midway by the method. Write the primary half. That’s like a potter throwing clay on a wheel. However don’t ship that lump of clay to a donor.

As an alternative, undergo the second half, shaping the clay into a fantastic murals. One thing that respects the reader sufficient to allow them to know that they’re vital. One thing that is stuffed with integrity as a result of it reveals that they’re making change potential.

These are the fundraising letters that donors will reply to.

And, truthfully, these are the letters you’ll discover extra fulfilling to jot down. Since you’re now not defending your work. Or “making a case.” You’re inviting the donor into one thing lovely.

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