What worked last year might not work again this year. A fool-proof plan that you received from a peer at another organization went awry. Loyal donors are all of a sudden shuffling their priorities.
Fundraising can be a volatile profession and with so much potential change year to year, it is sometimes difficult to string together enough successive strong appeals to find a groove as a development office.
- Fundraising might be more art than science, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some patterns worth following. Appeals can have a formula to them while also feeling new and engaging for donors. During their session, “50 Plus Ways to Love Your Donors” at the 2018 Association of Fundraising Professionals International Fundraising Conference in New Orleans, La., John Lepp, partner, and Holly Paulin, account manager, of Agents for Good shared eight steps to keep in mind in crafting an emotional appeal to donors. They were:
- Introduce a person or a problem and then illustrate how the donor and charity can offer a solution;
- Make a direct and compelling ask. Seek the donor’s help in solving a clear, fixable problem;
- After introducing the parties involved and conflict at hand, tell a little more of the story;
- Share a little bit about the organization and its programming, mindful of tying it all back to the opening. Explain what your organization is doing to help individuals or combat problems like those described up at the top;
- Repeat your ask and call to action;
- Sign off with something catchy and memorable. This is a place to be a little creative;
- Include a photo of the signer. A photo of the individual described at the outset, especially if that individual is a child, can be powerful. An exception to this step would be if the signer is a celebrity; and,
- Include a P.S. and have it echo the call to action that you have described above.