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Ten Steps To Conquer Year End Appeal

It’s that year end appeal time of year again.

Knowing all your competitors have already drafted compelling appeals to compete with yours can be intimidating.  How to start? What to say that has not been said before?

Before you get overwhelmed, just think — simple and friendly, and follow the steps below.  Divide each component into individual sentences or sections.

1 – Make it personal as if you were chatting with a friend. Use the prospect’s name and include other details you may have such as their previous gifts, alumni day or golfer in your tournament.

2 – Start with a bold, attention-getting introduction. Grab the reader with a captivating introductory one-liner.  Tell a story. Create a picture.  Give your prospects a glimpse into your world and why your mission is the one, out of all the other options, that they should support.

3 – For previous donors, update them on what their last gift accomplished. People want to be part of a winning team, and demonstrating past successes is positive.

4 – If you have more than one project to “sell”, focus on the one that would have the most appeal to this reader. (This may result in targeted letters to different prospect groups – that is encouraged).

5 – Explain your cause in simple, layman’s terms – no jargon.  Prospects must understand your critical need and how their gift will make a difference.

6 – Suggest a donation amount – and what that will specifically accomplish.

7 – State the impact of the gift so donors can envision their gift at work.  Also, carefully, judiciously help the reader understand the impact of not giving. “Without gifts such as yours, more puppies will be euthanized before year end.”

8 – Thank your donors in advance for their support.  Show you have faith in their ability to come through for you – again or for the first time.

9 – Add a P.S. to promote your annual gifts club. “A gift of just $100 or more will quality you as a 2011 member of our Leadership Society. Won’t you please join today?”

10 – Include a personal signature and whenever possible, a personal handwritten note or sticky note affixed to the letter. “Bob, I support this important initiative and hope you will too.” – (Board Member name)

Now, go forth and conquer your competition!

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