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You, We, I, Our, Him

I read many, many appeal letters this time of year. I’ve morphed into the Ron, what do you think of this letter? guy here. That’s ok. I don’t dislike doing it. My background as an English teacher makes it kind of natural.

The other day, though, I opened a piece of mail from a nonprofit that Sue and I have supported. They do a good job.

But their letter! Oh my!! It was all about THEM, US, OUR and WE.

Me being me, I grabbed a pen and starting doing a “read” on it. I counted up the number of times the organization was mentioned, either directly or indirectly. and then I did the same with how many times the donor was mentioned.

It was a little ridiculous. Now, keep in mind, this is an organization that I already support. Yet they still felt the need to tell me why they are so important. Passion for what you do is a good thing, no doubt. But your whole appeal should not be about your accomplishments.

The only time the letter mentioned me, the donor, was in the ask.

Tip: Do some proactive patting on the back. Let your donor know you think he/she is great. You already know they care about what you do. Talk to them as you would a partner, not a prospect.

Explain the problem, if there is one, or the need, or the situation…one person to another. Show how the donor can help to solve it.

There should be 2-3x as many references to the donor (YOU) as there are to we or us . It’s not word play. It is an attitude. When you write focused on your donor, not your nonprofit, a shift happens. That’s when your donor will start to really pay attention. And that’s when you’ll raise more money.

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