27 May Spring Appeal 2nd Drop
Now that Memorial Day is behind us, there’s still time this week to mail a reminder letter for the Spring Appeal. But hurry, before school lets out and vacation season starts in earnest.
There are several competing theories about second appeal letters. The first suggests that it is simply a reminder. “Just in case you missed this…..”
Fundraiser’s Almanac – May
These types of letters can retell the same stories and remake the same case in a similar format. Or you can simply photocopy the first letter and append a short note from the Executive Director. One year I even cut a sheet of paper diagonally in half and printed a triangle-shaped reminder message: “Just half a letter that only takes half the time to read.” Then I appended it to a photocopy of the original letter. The photocopy was printed on onion-skin paper.
A competing theory is that the first letter “appealed” to the one-third of your audience that it was ever going to. A second letter should be connected thematically, but should be very different in style and content – to “appeal” to a different audience segment.
For example, a first appeal letter might describe a high-priority restoration project that needs funds for invasive species control, ground prep, and/or seed. It might be signed by the Executive Director or the Board Chair. A second letter might offer a first person account of the restoration work as seen through the eyes of a volunteer land steward. This letter might even be signed by the volunteer.
I’ve never explicitly tested the two theories, but I tend to favor the latter. And the appeal campaigns I’ve run this way have tended to do well overall.
Regardless, I like using the Spring appeal to raise money for a “mission” project rather than just general support. It connects members to specific projects in a way that promotes ownership and makes it more likely they will continue to support the organization, even if they don’t give to the specific appeal. This is because they can see the work getting done.
Need some extra encouragement? I received this nice email from Southern Plains Land Trust in Centennial, Colorado.
“I thought I’d relate to you real-world results of applying the knowledge I gained from your workshop on fundraising.
Our latest appeal was longer, had simpler language, had a specific deadline, asked for a specific amount of money, included a ps that underscored our ask for donations, included stories, used a bigger font, and made the donor the hero.
The result: we have obtained 2.5 times more revenue with the 2015 appeal.
I am convinced that your workshop and the book (Jeff Brooks’ The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications) you recommended substantially increased our success. Many thanks to you for your workshop and many thanks to Amanda for bringing you!”
Thank you, Nicole!
Photo credit: Little Wolf River courtesy of Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.