10 Seconds Is All You've Got!
10. . .9. . . 8. . .7. . .6. . .5. . .4. . .3. . .2. . .1. . .decision made! And your fundraising appeal letter just got tossed into the trash.
Ouch! Painful story isn't it? Yet donors decide within about 10 seconds of opening your letter whether they'll read it . . . or toss it.
Like to change the ending of this story with your next letter? Simple. Open with a great story that captures your donors' core emotion.
I know. I know. You've heard this recommendation ump-teen times before. That's because it works. And personally this fundraising copywriter enjoys telling stories as much as I do reading them.
Don't you enjoy reading a good story? Sure. We all do. Including your donors. Yes, the best way to communicate with a friend, stranger, or donor is to tell a good story.
And part of the reason this works so well in fundraising is because stories give you a creative way to inspire readers to give to the same cause. With each letter, ad, newsletter or email you create . . . your challenge is to give your donors a new reason to give to the same cause.
Now this is a real challenge! Unlike a for–profit company you can't feature "new and improved" products in your latest catalog. Your cause, your mission remains essentially unchanged over time. Yet you're sending 3, 12 or more communications to your donors every year.
Therefore, telling a "new" story or anecdote is an incredibly effective way to give donors a "new" reason to donate. And remember; tell the story with deep emotion. Emotion-filled stories move donors to respond . . . not fact-filled stories.
Fundraising is often a matter of playing the percentages. Stack the odds in your favor and open with an emotional human interest story or anecdote. Good luck!
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Just passing on a bit of info from a flyer I received in the mail last week. I don't know anything about it except what I read in the flyer, but it may be helpful to some of you folks. Anyway, it caught my attention because it was about raising funds with golf - I play golf, or at least I play at it.
Organizing and Managing Charity Golf Tournaments
Penn State University
Ramada Conference Center, State College, PA
February 8, 2007
The ad says, "Whether you're a novice or an experienced charity golf tournament organizer, attending this one-day workshop is a great way to pick up ideas, strategies, and advice that can help your get the most out of your golf event. . . . show you how to organize and manage a profitable charity golf tournament from golf pros that have been there!"
or contact Steve Eskey at firstname.lastname@example.org
My thought is: No matter how you slice it, this workshop just may get your fundraising back on . . . err . . . into the "green."