A factor both hurricanes and mysteries have in common is this: At the start you can’t be certain exactly how it will turn out.

This is also true for your fundraising appeals – whether sent via direct mail, email, or any other marketing channel.  You hope for the best but you can’t be 100% certain how readers will respond.

But to maximize your chances of success – of weathering the storm or solving the mystery of getting donors to respond – you need to prepare

One way to prepare is to ANSWER OBJECTIONS” before your readers can ask them.  Head them off at the pass.  This is fundamental to direct response copywriting.

In other words, what is it your donors, members, or prospects want to know? 

Answer these questions and then start writing your appeal.  I already have some of the answers for you.  I recently shared research that confirmed once again what motivates people to give you that first gift and then a second gift.  Find the answers on why people donate here

What other questions might your donors and prospective donors want to know the answers to?  Let’s take two of the most popular channels:

Direct Mail appeals
– Who sent the letter? (Does the name of your organization really give them enough information?)
– Why are they writing to me?  How did I get on their mailing list?
– Is this going to be worth my time to read?
– I suppose they just want money.  How much and for what; I wonder.
– Who signed it?
– What will they use my money for?
– How do I know they can really do what they promise?
– If I give today, how much will they hound me to keep on giving?

Email appeals
– Who is it FROM? I don’t recognize this person or who they’re with.
– What does that subject line mean?
– Better come right to the point because I don’t have time to read a novel. (Finger poised to delete.)
– What do they want?  More money?
– What’s the catch?
– And other questions similar to the direct mail.

Many people are extremely busy.  Even readers with more leisure time still want to receive value, to know they can trust you, and to read a well-told story that answers all their questions.

Do your homework upfront before you start writing.  Check your ego at the door and remember that donors do NOT have your insider knowledge.  They don’t live and breathe your mission everyday like you do.

Preparation removes a lot of the mystery surrounding fundraising appeals.  It adds more certainty to the outcome by increasing your chances of success. 

Anything to add?  How do you prepare for fundraising success?

Want more help on writing stronger copy? Related posts:

Write copy that answers donors OBVIOUS objections, Why people do NOT give to your charity

Write copy that answers HIDDEN objections, Buyer’s Remorse for Nonprofits