Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Don’t Ask People To Respond. Ask Them To Donate.

November 7th, 2014 by Karen Climer

Have often have you received a solicitation letter that ends with, “Please respond today.”?  I’ve written letters that ended that way.  Sometimes, for variety sake, I would use the synonym, “reply” as in “please reply today.  I don’t use either of those words anymore for two reasons.

First, it’s vague.  When I send a solicitation letter, I’m not looking for a response or a reply, I’m looking for a gift.  If that’s what you want (and I assume it is), then say that.  People are more likely to do what you ask, when you say, “Please mail your donation in the enclosed envelope.” Or “Please send your donation today.”  You can use “reply” in an email if you want them to hit the “reply” button.  But if you want them to click on a link to make a donation, say that.

Second, it’s transactional.  When I receive a credit card application or a magazine subscription offer, it says, “Please respond today.”  I’m offering you this great magazine at a super price, if you respond today.  That’s very transaction, and it’s very different from fundraising.  In fundraising, we aren’t looking for one-off customers.  We are looking for people who will join us in a journey to solve a societal problem.  A good call to action for that would be, “Please join me in saving these magnificent animals from extinction.”  Or “Please join me in ensuring that Eastside Youth Orchestra continues to showcase the finest young performers of our time.”

I know longer ask people to respond or reply to the letter.  I ask them for what I really want, which is to join us in our mission by making a donation.

Posted in Asking, Direct Mail

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