What SINGLE change can improve any fundraising appeal?

in Reader-Centric copy

If you’ve read my blog or newsletter for long, then you know I’m a stickler for reader-centric copy. I’m talking about copy centered on your donors, members, and advocates.

And the easiest way to get one giant step close to reader-centric copy is to make this single change to your acquisition or renewal appeal: Change the word “we” to “you.”

I know. That’s nothing new. But self-centered copy still prevails. For example:

We sent 220 volunteers to Joplin to help them rebuild. Ten families are now living in their homes again. This is just one example of what Acme Charity has done in this past year.

Here’s how it could be rewritten by essentially substituting “you” for “we”:

You helped send 220 volunteers to Joplin. Ten homes were rebuilt and families are living in their homes again. This is just one example of what Acme Charity has done in this past year.

Granted, the copy could still be made a lot more reader-centric. Yet that single edit will take it one giant leap forward toward a more donor-centric appeal. You’ll be much close to a letter, email or web copy that will resonate with your readers.

What’s more, this seemingly simple change boosts response over and over again.

Here’s a bonus for you. After you replace the “we” word with “you,” check how often you use the name of your organization to take the credit. This is the same example from above after we changed “we” to “you.”

You helped send 220 volunteers to Joplin. Ten homes were rebuilt and families are living in their homes again. This is just one example of what Acme Charity has done in this past year.

Now let’s take it one step farther and change the last sentence. Again, put the reader in the spotlight instead of your charity or association.

You helped send 220 volunteers to Joplin. Ten homes were rebuilt and families are living in their homes again. Your past gifts to Acme Charity are a big reason these families are no longer living in shelters.

Want more donors and members to respond to your appeals? Follow the examples above. Make those simple edits and you will be writing appeals that are more reader-centric.

Question for you: What else can I do to help you write more donor-centric copy? I’d like to know what makes this style of copywriting challenging for you. Please let me know how I can help you by answering the two questions in the survey found in this previous postMommy! Mommy! Look at me!