You, We, I, Our, Him

October 29, 2014

 

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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