Grandma, the expert online fundraiser

Your best teacher for online fundraising just might be your grandmother. That’s the message from Sharpe Tips, at Boost Email Fundraising Open Rates by Sounding Like Grandma.

Alan has three learnings from Grandma:


  • Subject line: think of how you would grab the attention of a loved one in a letter or phone call
  • Address your reader by name.
  • Put your readers first, making them the star of every email.

To which I’d ad: Don’t only write like Grandma — write to her. Think about how you’d explain things to her: What she’d understand and respond to. What she’d struggle to grasp. What would be compelling to her.

You’ll notice many of those things are not at all the things that would get your attention. She isn’t you, just as your donors aren’t you. When you use your own reactions to your messaging, you often miss Grandma.

Get that key point tattooed on the inside of your brain, and you are a true professional fundraiser.


Comments

2 responses to “Grandma, the expert online fundraiser”

  1. This is a good rule of thumb. It makes it easier to not fall into the curse of knowledge (which is the phenomenon that, on average, the more a person knows about a topic, the harder they fail at explaining it to other people), and writing to Grandmom is a great way to make sure you have a voice.
    To me, the biggest flaw I see in most fund-raising literature is lack of a human voice in the copy. People support to other people’s passions, so the more we can convey our own emotions and passion, the more people will be willing to support us. When I write to Grandmom, I’m happy to convey my passion, because she cares.
    Great rule of thumb.

  2. This is a good rule of thumb. It makes it easier to not fall into the curse of knowledge (which is the phenomenon that, on average, the more a person knows about a topic, the harder they fail at explaining it to other people), and writing to Grandmom is a great way to make sure you have a voice.
    To me, the biggest flaw I see in most fund-raising literature is lack of a human voice in the copy. People support to other people’s passions, so the more we can convey our own emotions and passion, the more people will be willing to support us. When I write to Grandmom, I’m happy to convey my passion, because she cares.
    Great rule of thumb.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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