Four steps for turning your fundraising message from a loser to a winner

From Better Fundraising For All, an account of how a poorly performing direct mail appeal was revised into a winner, at Direct Mail That Works! Part #1 and Part #2.

Here are the changes that made the difference:


  • A story of need was added. (At had been a description of the wonderfully effective program.)
  • The story was about one person. (It had been about all the people.)
  • There was an Ask in the first few paragraphs. (The ask wasn’t until late in the letter, in the dead zone.)
  • Design was used to help the donor know the most important parts of the letter. (Underlines, boldface type, and other forms of emphasis were added.)

That’s a recipe for success. Try it yourself.


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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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