Four ways you chase away donors with your writing

Here’s some basic help from the Happy Donors blog: Why donors don’t read your fundraising letters.

The sad reality is, most of our fundraising letters go unread. And most often, you lose the battle for readership before they even open the envelope.

But once a donor has opened your envelope and is holding the letter in her hand, she still might not read it. And here are some reasons why:


  1. You open the letter talking about yourself.
  2. Your letter doesn’t look and “feel” personal.
  3. The letter reads like it’s written.
  4. I can’t easily scan your letter and/or when I scan, nothing grabs my attention and buys my readership.

Let me especially comment on #3, because it’s an important point that a lot of fundraisers miss. Too many fundraisers use a writerly tone. It may be the way your writing teachers taught you to write, but it doesn’t sound like a friend connecting with a friend — and that’s why it’s not good fundraising.

It takes a true professional writer to not sound like a writer.


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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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About the blogger

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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