One word that dramatically boosts fundraising results

One word can make a difference. When that word is the right pronoun.

An email test reported at MarketingExperiments (Email Optimization: A single word change results in a 90% lift in sign-ups) shows how:

In an email, a call-to-action button featured two different phrases:

Start your free trial
vs.
Start my free trial

Result: Start my free trial got a 90% lift in sign-ups over Start your free trial.

That’s pretty easy money.

Direct mail practitioners have known this little secret for years. That’s why reply coupons typically read like this: YES! I care about your cause. Enclosed is my gift of…

It works to put the action copy in the words of the donor. As if she is the one talking — even though you’re the one who wrote it.

If you aren’t doing this, test it.

(By the way, one of the surest signs that someone is a fundraising neophyte is that they “fix” action copy so it’s in the voice of the organization, not the donor. It’s more logical that way, right? Too bad it doesn’t work as well.)


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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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