5 common direct mail fundraising writing mistakes

It’s those easy, common mistakes that make fundraising fail. Here are some things to avoid, from the Bloomerang Blog, at Donation Letters: 5 Scary Writing Mistakes and How to Fix Them:

  1. Speaking to the crowd. An appeal letter is a message from one person to one person. You’re not addressing an auditorium, so make it personal and direct, the way you would if you were chatting over coffee.
  2. Using Olympian language & grammar. Don’t steamroll that chatting-over-coffee with formal, high-flown language and complex grammar that makes you sound unfriendly.
  3. Guessing who the donor is. Know who the donor is. How much has she given? When did she most recently give? Use the knowledge you have to connect in a relevant way.
  4. Muddling the message. You can really only do one thing at a time in fundraising. Don’t cram multiple messages into your letter.
  5. Forgetting to repeat the ask. If you ask only once, you’ve not really asked at all. A well-built fundraising letter asks three, four, or more times.


Comments

2 responses to “5 common direct mail fundraising writing mistakes”

  1. Speaking to the individual is such a valuable lesson. I often check myself to make sure I didn’t slip into “we” when writing appeals.

  2. Speaking to the individual is such a valuable lesson. I often check myself to make sure I didn’t slip into “we” when writing appeals.

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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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