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Resources – Newsletter Archive

October, 2007

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." The October 2007 issue covers the critical topic of donor cultivation through thank-you letters. And the hot tips section is jam-packed this month! You’ll find a free advertising method plus upcoming events and useful resources for your nonprofit organization

     Oh – I also want to mention that adding video clips to your website is a great way to add interest, draw attention to a special event, build donor relationships, and it’s also easy to do (if you need help creating one, see HOT TIPS below for a great resource).

     Something as short and to-the-point as the video I have on my website may be all you need. (In case the link doesn’t work, just visit my home page at

     Each issue - which you can read in 3 to 5 minutes - has a main article, a hot tips section, a charitable quote just for fun, and perhaps another item or two tucked in. Everything this humble copywriter shares is for the purpose of making your work as a fundraising professional a bit easier.

Thank-You Letters – Critical Donor Cultivation Tool [360 words]

Thank-you letters are a critical part of your overall fundraising strategy. I devote two articles (so far) to this on my website.

One article goes over what donors are expecting of you, and the price you pay when you don't do what they expect.

Many donors are offended if you don’t send a thank-you. This hurts donor cultivation and could contribute to declining donor retention because they view these letters as common courtesy.

Now if donor retention isn’t declining . . . congratulations. But that’s still no reason to ignore timely thank-you letters. The odds are if you ignore this tactic you’re hurting your fundraising results one way or another.

You'll find all this and the basic elements of a good thank-you letter in the "Fundraising Courtesy" article.

Just in case that article didn't convince you on the value of sending sincere thank-you letters to your donors in a timely fashion . . . I wrote a second article titled "Why You MUST Send Thank-You Letters – The Missing Link in Fundraising Appeals."

You’ll find at least 10 reasons why this is advantageous to you, your organization, and to your fundraising results.

Remember, donors have no idea how challenging the logistics are of sending out thank-you letters. They really don’t care and that’s just fine.

Employ the tactic of sending thank-you letters in the right way, and I believe you’ll get better results with your fundraising and strengthen donor cultivation at the same time.

And finally, here's another tool that also help donor cultivation . . . adding video clips to your website. This is a great way to add interest, draw attention to a special event, build donor relationships, and it’s also easy to do.

On my website you'll find an example of a video I recently created. Granted, my video has a different purpose than yours will - I outline what the advantages are to you when enlisting the help of a professional copywriter - but it still illustrates the point.

Something short and to-the-point like this may be all you need. If you need help creating such a video, look below in Hot Tip #2 for a great resource.

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Just for fun - a quote for you

"It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)

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Have a Burning Question?

How else can I make your job easier? Please don’t be shy. The purpose of my newsletter is to give you – a fundraising professional – tools, ideas, and resources to make your fundraising efforts easier. And directly answering the challenges you face is an ideal way to make this newsletter relevant for you.

Please send your questions TODAY. Send them right now to this address. Take a few minutes and rattle them off before something distracts you.


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Hot Tips of the Month [240 and 172 words]

1) Use U.S. Postal Service stamp cancellations as a free form of advertising (and maybe a corresponding boost in fundraising). I read an interesting article on this in an issue of “The Chronicle of Philanthropy.” Basically, nonprofit organizations – at no charge – can have their name and an image used to cancel first-class stamps, either nationally or regionally. The potential is for your name to be seen by thousands, if not millions of mail recipients.

See this link for more information on special stamp cancellations .

Here are a few considerations and tips:

  • The USPS only receives about 30 requests for this per year. This means considerable potential, especially for local and regional nonprofits to make a “visible” impression on your donor base.
  • Keep your design simple. Detailed pictures often don’t come through clearly or are obscured by certain types of stamps.
  • Most groups tie their cancellations to an event.
  • The cancellations are more of a publicity tactic than a fund-raising device.
  • Cancellation drives must promote an event of “general public interest,” and the USPS is often rather generous in their interpretation.
  • Note that you have no control over the mail on which your name appears. So theoretically, your name could appear on mail for something you oppose.
  • And with the USPS sending a billion pieces of mail every 8 weeks nationwide, it’s all but certain that something could go wrong. But then again, maybe not.

2) Assorted events and resources of possible interest:

  1. October 17, 2007 – Free American Marketing Assoc. webcast on “Major Gift Programs That Work and Really Raise Money.”

  2. October 23-24, 2007, Columbia, SC – Fundraising conference on “Faith and Fundraising; A conference for Christians on the Raising of Money within the Body of Christ.” Call 803-808-5084 or visit

  3. October 25, 2007, Washington DC – DMAW fundraising forum: “Will Heavy Election Fundraising Leave No Money for Your Cause?” Visit the DMAW website or call 703-689-3629.

  4. November 15, 2007 – 21st Annual National Philanthropy Day. Visit for general information on the event.

  5. Video resource for nonprofits. For tips on how to create a short video that Cookie Carosella can edit and prepare for upload to your website, or if you want to take full advantage of her incredible experience and skills to create a bit more elaborate video for you, I believe you’ll be very happy you got in touch with her. She loves nonprofits. Give her a call at 310-927-9440, or visit


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 . . . please say "thank you" to your donors for their gifts. And don’t forget to look into the free advertising resource I talked about in the HOT TIPS section. Oh, and I do hope you’ll check out the video on my homepage as an example of another tool for donor cultivation.

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? I’d love to explore the possibilities with you. Call or send me an email today. I look forward to helping your mission prosper!


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

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