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Member, Association of Fundraising Professionals
Member, American Society of Association Executives
Resources – Newsletter Archive

October, 2006

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." Today's newsletter (which you can read in 3-5 minutes . . . tops) includes guidelines on boosting donor results 10% or more, and a link to an article that may help with your corporate gifts.

With regard to my newsletter in general - on the second Tuesday of each month I share tips, news items, and resources all tailored for the non-profit world and folks directly responsible for raising funds. My goal is to make your job a little easier and to help you increase your donor contributions.

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What's your biggest challenge? What would you like to see in my newsletter? How can I help you?

Send me a short note with one or two of your biggest challenges. I'll share suggestions on making them less of a challenge in a future issue. Just send an email to and I'll take it from there.

"Specifics" Can Boost Donor Results 10% or More
[493 words]

Your mission is a wonderful “product” to sell. This is good news. Because even incredible copy can’t turn lead into gold. And as a copywriter myself I take this seriously.

So let's boost results and sell your mission. First recognize fundraising letters as a special form of sales letter. Let’s quickly compare:

     Sales Letters

  • Product
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Benefits (of the product)

     Fundraising Letters

  • Mission
  • How are you unique from every other hospital; what do you do that no other world relief organization does; or how do you do it better?
  • How donors help you succeed (benefits of mission); tell personal stories and share how the donor can help make an individual life better with their donation of $X.

Understanding how fundraising letters equate to “typical” sales letters is the first step to boosting results.

And the next fact to remember is the reader – the donor – should always be the star of your fundraising letters! Now how is it achieved?

Your message must be specific and unique and touch donors as deeply as possible. Evoke a strong emotional reaction with precise examples of how donors’ money is used while uniquely showcasing your mission with personal stories. Do all that and your donors will feel they are the key to your mission success.

Specifics sell! Therefore, share exact details how donors’ money helps save lives, or how it helps make lives better. Here are a few brief examples:


  • 50,000 people live in abject poverty and squalor in the slums of Haiti; starving; and all desperately need your help.


  • Your gift of $100 can feed an entire family of 4 for a full year! And you make it possible for Latisha and her brother Manual to eat every day. Before they took turns eating every other day to stretch their food.

  • Can you give $2,000? That's all it takes in Haiti to build a new, clean safe home. You'll help an entire family get out of the slums forever!


  • We're eager to expand our fitness program at XYZ Home for Seniors. Please give as generously as possible. They're depending on you.


  • A gift of $20 buys a "balance training disc" for our expanding fitness program. Our residents will use at least 10 during every session.

  • With 40 sets of resistance tubes (gentle strength training); at only $7 each, we'll help our residents keep their muscles in shape. And that can help prevent falls that cause broken hips.

Specifics are part of the secret to keeping your donor the star of your letters. You’ve got a marvelous mission! Get all the support you can by telling donors exactly . . . and in great detail how you'll use their money; and how they help you succeed.

This is part of the benefit donors receive when they give. And when you also weave in an emotional personal story or two with the specifics . . . WOW! You’ve just written a fundraising letter with potential to boost results 10% or more.

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Hot Tip of the Month - More Execs Abandoning Corporations for the Nonprofit World
[150 words]

Below is a link to an interesting article I read last week on the web and taken from Forbes. The author shares three examples of executives who left very profitable careers to launch their own nonprofit organization.

The three execs share why they made the change and how their lives are rewarded by giving of themselves.

I share this with you because you might also find it interesting. And because many nonprofits are seeking to increase corporate gifts. So it may provide a bit more insight into how some of the leaders think and are motivated.

And if your mission is complimentary, seeking out these new-style nonprofits may lead to a mutually beneficial partnership. Food for thought.

Finally, there are more links within the article you may want to explore. Such as the 25 most generous corporate foundations; the top 10 most charitable companies; and the 10 most charitable states.

Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Thanks for joining me and until next time . . . remember who's the star of your letters, ads, and promotions - your readers, your donors.

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? I'd love to work with you on it.


Return to Karen Zapp’s Newsletter Archive page


Call anytime and we’ll chat about your needs: 800-794-1609
I look forward to helping you prosper.

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