Home 2017 Fundraising Trends AWESOME ANNUAL APPEAL IDEAS


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Resist surrendering to the good news compulsion in your annual appeal. You have to make people want to help you. Your job is to convince them that you need their help.

Annual Appeal Suggestions and Who better to take annual appeal suggestions from than the Dean of Direct Mail? Jerry Huntsinger from the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration (SOFII) gives these nine great tips for winning appeal letters.

Tip #1 – Good news?
Resist surrendering to the good news compulsion. You have to make people want to help you. Your job is to convince them that you need their help. So if all you talk about is good news, they might think you don’t need their help.

Tip #2 – Talk about yourself
Don’t be reluctant to say “I.” Your donors want a letter from a real live person who is compassionate and cares about their mission. Don’t make it stuffy and institutionalized. Keep it real and personal.

Tip #3 – Surprise!
Don’t let your donors anticipate what you’ll do next. Keep them off balance; keep them guessing. Every fundraising package they receive from you should contain an element of surprise. Check your format and make it unique. You don’t want your donors anticipating your every move.
Tip #4 – Stories
Tell more stories this year about the needy people or animals you are helping. Your donors want to help real people and not an organization.

Tip #5 – Graphic Excitement
Put more graphic excitement in your letters. People are busy and save time by scanning the page and then deciding if the material deserves more of their time. Use bold font and underlining, short paragraphs, more attention grabbing statements, and more headlines.

Tip #6 – Loooong letter
Rethink your prejudice against long copy. This letter has to do a lot of telling and asking so you want to take your time. Make it longer and more compelling.

Tip #7 – No worries
Stop worrying about donors being offended by your fundraising appeals. Worry more about convincing them to send money! They want to hear from you. Don’t be shy. Just write a great letter with great stories.

Tip #8 – Getting to know you
Get to really know your donors specifically. Who signs the checks? Read the positive letters they send in. Every week call three donors at random and talk to them. Tell them you are trying to get to know your donors better.

Tip #9 – Thinking of you
Donors don’t think about you nearly as much as you think about them. They think about you when you call and when they receive a letter from you. So make it good! The better your communication with them, the more fondly they’ll remember you.

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JoyOlson Successful Fundraiser of 22 years; Pet owner and lover; triathlete and sportswoman; Gardner; Love to dance; Music a must; Workaholic


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