In my 22+ years in development, I have seen a lot of “new ideas” in solicitations:
- Send the same letter to everyone, some people will give
- Buy mailing lists!
- Send the same letter to everyone along with an incentive piece like a notebook, return address sticker, or even a coin!
- Every letter should be personalized
- Letters should be personalized and have a specific ask
- Offer a gift with certain donation levels
- Not only personalize letters, but include a specific ask and list the previous year’s gift
- Every letter should be personalized, have an ask, list the previous year’s gift, and tell a story.
- Did you forget to include a cute animal or child? Every letter has to be personalized, have an ask, list the previous year’s gift, tell a story, and include cute pictures
- Only send emails to people who contact you by emails
- Forget letters, send everyone emails!
- Don’t send too many emails
- Send a combination of letters and emails
- What do you mean you haven’t been using Instagram for solicitations?
- Send letters, no one sends them anymore so you will stand out
- Send postcards, no one even has to open an envelope to give!
- Use twice as many “you” references than “we”, “me”, “our”, etc. in your letter
I could go on but, you get the idea. Maybe you’ve lived through many of these ideas. And they weren’t wrong for their time and the world lived in. So, what’s the latest?
The Donor As The Hero
How has the donor helped your beneficiaries?
“Your gift helped provide 3,248 meals for our community in the past year”
“Your $5,000 gift helped create 198 after school job opportunities for disadvantaged teenagers”
“Your gift of $1,000, along with your fellow donors in the Foundation Society, created a mental health space for every one of the 12,838 people who walked through our doors last year. We hope you will help us continue to develop our safe space with a gift of $1,500 this year.”
Using the donor as the hero can highlight your best statistics while making the donor feel great. A win-win.
Now, just sit back and wait for donations. And the next big fundraising idea.
Or, if you would like help with your annual appeal and annual campaign, click here to set up a 30-minute free consultation