When people open your appeal letter they immediately are wondering whether they want to read it or toss it. To help them in their decision making process they look at the headlines and/or section headlines, if any and the P.S. first and foremost. One of the best ways to make your letter look more interesting is to use headlines and the P.S. to tell a consistent story.
For example, take a look at these 5 headlines:
Tommy’s Dad Died When He Was 6…Now His Mom Is Out of Work
Single Parents in Houston Struggling to Make Ends Meet in the Thousands
Your Generosity Saved Tommy and His Family Last Year
250 Families Who Needed Our Help Have Had to Be Turned Away This Year
With Your Help, We’ll never Have to Say “No” Again
Why headlines? They tell a story, don’t they. If someone is only skimming through your letter (as many do), the Annual Fund Consulting Banner2headlines will allow for an understanding of the basic purpose of the letter. The hope is the reader will then be interested enough to learn more about Tommy and his family.
The P.S. then summarizes the story and the Ask, so that those who have only skimmed the letter still know they are being asked to consider a gift of monetary support to the organization.
Do you have any tips to add to the list? I’ll put the best ones in our next newsletter. With attribution, of course!