I would be remiss if I did not first recognize the loss of life and devastation wrought by Hurricane Florence. If you were impacted please know that my thoughts are with you.
If you have not yet had an opportunity to contribute to relief efforts Southern Living Magazine, offers a list of options here.
A different type of storm will soon be on the way, the year-end fundraising mail storm! What might this storm bring to your doorstep and those of your donors?
2. Renewal appeals – From nonprofits, some of which I have not contributed to in a year or even two (in a few cases more year ago than that.
3. Acquisition Mail – From a few organizations that I can only assume purchased a mailing list from another NPO or a mail house. This is the smallest portion of the pile.
When presenting to a group of executives, board members, and volunteers from small NPOs I took the stack of appeals with me. Most participants were stunned to see the sheer number of appeals that I had received at year end. I reminded them that when developing a mailing they need to consider how to make their appeal stand out in such a crowded field.
How crowded is that field? As per the National Center on Charitable Statistics there are
What’s a nonprofit to do in the face of such competition? As former foundation executive advised:
Tell the Story, Tell the Story, Tell the Story!
Tell compelling stories about the impact that gifts make and share them in person, over the phone, and via email and social media now through year end.
Need some help with storytelling? While I write case statements I learned how to do so thanks in large measure to learning from Tom Ahern. You will find Tom’s books to be informative and enjoyable:
- What Your Donors Want . . . and Why?
- Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes: How to Make a Persuasive Case for Everything from Your Annual Drive to Your Planned Giving Program to Your Capital Campaign
- Making More Money with Donor Newsletters
(FYI I earn no income from recommending his books, Tom is simply one of the best in the business).
One other book that I found to be helpful is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. If you find yourself struggling for words this book will help you find them.
If you are writing a case statement I also recommend Campbell & Company’s YouTube videos featuring Andrew Brommel. Andrew offers excellent points to keep in mind when writing a case statement and makes it clear that there is no one “right” format or length.