How to save time and raise more funds by harnessing repetition

When I was a young copywriter, my mental picture of the way donors interacted with my work was like this:

They read every word of everything we sent them. They gave it careful and thorough consideration. They remembered everything the way you would conversations with a close friend.

(The uncomfortable fact that response rates generally stayed in the single digits bothered me quite a lot, as it flew in the face of my mental picture.)

Then something happened that changed my picture: the printer for one of my clients messed up and sent the April direct mail appeal again in May. I thought the donors were going to rise up and accuse us of trying to pull one over on them. Or ask if something was wrong that caused us to repeat ourselves.

But nothing happened. Not one complaint. Not a single comment. And the May appeal — identical to the April appeal, did just about as well.

Repeating yourself in fundraising is not a bad thing, as noted by The Agitator, at The Same Old Santa:

In my 50 years of writing fundraising copy I’ve yet to hear of a donor saying, “Hey, that’s the same appeal you sent me last year!”

Yet too many fundraisers worry (often out loud and in endless meetings) and drive copywriters nuts with screwball briefings like “we need something new and different for this year-end appeal. We don’t want to do the same thing we did last year.”

If you did well last year, you will likely do well again this year with the same message.

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself.

  1. They aren’t paying as close attention as you think.
  2. They aren’t troubled by it even when they notice!

I can help you harness the power of repetition in your fundraising. Book me for one-on-one coaching. I’d love to work with you! Click here for detail and how to book here.


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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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