Appeal Letters

Fundraising and President Obama's Tears

It wasn’t the facts or the arguments that moved the needle. It was the display of emotion.” That, or something very close to that—I was still waking up with my cup of coffee in hand—was what I heard David Axelrod of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago say about shifting public opinion on gun control.

CNN reported this morning that, while the American public is skeptical about whether or not the gun control measures that President Obama announced this week will be effective, they are, nonetheless, supportive, with 60% of the public supporting the measures.. Both the President's approval ratings as well as the support for his policy were on the rise this week following his televised town hall appearance, CNN reported. David Axelrod, a crack political analyst who was part of the “Audacity to Win” campaign team behind Obama’s bid for the White House, had sliced and diced the post-Town Hall polls this week. He shared on CNN this morning that it was not any of the arguments, facts, or data that were discussed during the Town Hall, but the riveting moment when the President shed tears over the loss of children’s lives at Sandy Hook, that changed the hearts of Americans.

Reach Their Hearts, Not Their Heads

Reach Their Hearts, Not Their Heads

I love committees.  I'm serious. I do. Those of you who know me personally know, I'm an extrovert. I'm energized by being in a room full of other people. I love brainstorming and discussions. 

But there are somethings a committee shouldn't do and writing your end of the year appeal letter is one of them.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

This Saturday is Christmas in July.  Santa might not be coming, but there are great sales everywhere and some retailers are even trying to get people thinking ahead to the holiday season which, if you’re a fundraiser, is a really good idea. If you haven’t already begun planning for the end of the year, now is the time to get started.

It’s four months until Giving Tuesday and five months until the close of the fiscal year.

An Empathy Gap?

An Empathy Gap?

A new study conducted by researchers at Stanford, suggests that there is an "empathy gap" between men and women that affects charitable giving.  

To study differences in men and women and charitable giving, the researchers tested responses to appeals for support for a fictional organization they called the Coalition to Reduce Poverty.

The study broke the 1,1715-person sample into 5 test groups and compared the responses of men and women in each of the sub-samples. 

Asking Matters

Asking Matters

What you ask for matters.

If you haven’t finished your end of year appeal, one of the decisions you are probably agonizing over is the ask amount—what numbers to put in your “gift string” or “gift array”—those numbers that you will use on your response card or envelope to suggest gift sizes to donors.

Thinking carefully about these numbers is wise.  What you suggest matters.

What Makes a Good End of Year Appeal? New socks and underwear.

What Makes a Good End of Year Appeal?  New socks and underwear.

Nobody likes to receive new underwear and socks for Christmas, right? 

In my first professional fundraising job, I worked for a children’s shelter in Greenville, SC.  I will never forget that first holiday season, asking the kids in the shelter what they wanted for Christmas.  I expected to hear them say things like GameBoys (remember those?) and American Girl dolls which I understood were all the rage with young children at the time.  Instead, I got answers like new underwear and socks.  Wow.  This put so many things into perspective. It also fueled my zeal to raise funds to ensure that those children got those things and so much more.

As you pen your final appeals for the year, remember to focus on the true need. 

13 Sample PS's for Your End of Year Appeal

13 Sample PS's for Your End of Year Appeal

We all know that the P.S. gets read.  We know it’s the most critical part of our end of year appeal.  If you’re like me, choking on writer’s block as I struggle to come up with the perfect closing line for my letter, you’re probably looking for some sample P.S.’s to help you get started thinking about what you can say.  So here you are —13 sample PS’s.  

The Power of One

The Power of One

If you’re like most people responsible for fundraising this time of year, you’re trying to put the finishing touches on your end of year appeal.  A lot is riding on it.  Probably, whether or not you make your fundraising goals for the year is dependent on the success of your appeal, given that 40% of an organization’s contributions are received in the last three months of the year.

If you haven’t yet finalized your copy or decided what to write about, this article is for you.  What you need is one story, about one person (or animal or plant).  One.