Donor Renewal Copywriting Tips

  • Create an emotional opening paragraph, sentence, or even just one word. If the reader can visualize themselves in the story, you have done a great job.
  • Stories with an unsolved ending pull at the heartstrings and create the sense of need and urgency we as fundraisers want to have in an appeal letter.
  • Donors give with their hearts, so we must write with ours. Statistics don't pull at heartstrings, so keep them out. Emotional triggers, not rational ones, drive charitable giving.
  • Ask often throughout the letter (minimum of 3 times), and at least once on the front page. It must be very obvious to the donor why you are writing them.
  • Use photos in appeal letters sparingly. A photo sends a message very quickly and can override all the words on your communication if the appropriate photo is not used. If using a photo, the photo should be neutral to sad, not happy.
  • Include a P.S. message. People seldom read the entire letter, but most will read the entire P.S. message. This makes it a prime location to summarize the purpose of the letter (ask for support!) and to create urgency.
  • The only goal of a donor renewal communication should be to raise funds. Your entire communication should be about the need for support. This means no added language about events, or reporting on successes.
  • Multiple messages within one mailing confuses the reader and they take no action (that means they don’t send donations!!)

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