How to Create a Donor-Centered Fundraising Letter

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Are you wondering how to really nail a donor-centered fundraising letter?

Are you trying to create a letter for your annual campaign that can grab hold of your donor’s attention quickly?

And do you want to write a letter that just makes your donor feel wonderful that they are part of your cause?

Everybody wants to create a donor-centered fundraising letter!

But few people actually get it right.

It’s so hard.

Why? Because most nonprofit communications take the wrong approach.

They are all about how wonderful your organization is, how hard you all work, and what fabulous results you create.

They brag and brag. They show off.

They are organization-centered, not donor-centered.

These organizations are not particularly concerned about their donors’ happiness, much less their donors’ satisfaction with their giving experience.

Tom Ahern’s version of donor-centered fundraising letters.

A couple of weeks ago, I opened up Tom Ahern’s regular blog feed and was astonished at what I saw.

Here right in front of me, was a list of some of the most powerful donor-centered writing that I’ve ever read!

“Aha,” I thought!

“I’ve got to share these on my blog.”

I was thinking that if more organizations could write like THIS, then they’d nail the year-end fundraising season that is about to come off.

I am frankly hoping that every single nonprofit leader who reads this post will run as fast as they can to RE-DO their next appeal letter.

Tom Ahern believes that you need to make your donor the HERO of your story. That’s what your appeal letter is really about.

  • This is how to make your letter totally and completely donor-centered.
  • Here’s how to awaken your donor’s passion and commitment to your organization and your work.
  • Here’s how to make your donor feel so, so appreciated!

So, with Tom’s permission, I am sharing his poignant, emotional and passionate words, phrases and sentences.

Take a look at this list of 15 lines.

Can you incorporate any of this language into your appeals, thank yous, and newsletters?

Here’s Tom’s language. It’s out there a bit, I’ll admit.

Can you possibly go this far and talk to your donors like this?

What would happen if you did?

Can you say these things?

This is how to show your donors some love:

Thank you.
         You make it possible.
         Thank you … SO, SO MUCH.
         This mission depends on you UTTERLY.
         And you know, here’s a little secret I shouldn’t reveal: at board and staff retreats, we always end up talking about YOU, the donor, the true believer, the supporter, the family member.
         We talk about how important you are.
         We talk about how these special, compassionate, selfless, kind people LIKE YOU make so much possible.
         Frankly, we gush. I hope you don’t mind.
         We gush shamelessly.
         Because you joined the fight. You consulted your heart. You felt those crazy “caring” enzymes rise inside you.
         You glowed like an incandescent bulb of doing good.
         You flared into a star of doing good.
     You screamed with righteous purpose at the very moment you made your gift.
         So we hope.
         Because of people like you, we continue to hope.

BOTTOM LINE: This is how to nail a donor-centered fundraising letter.

The secret, my friend, is to send tons of love and affection to your donor.

Make her feel like she is your true partner in the cause.

You can do it, I know you can.

You might also like these related posts:

And if you are tackling your year-end fundraising campaign and want to nail a donor-centered fundraising letter, check out these this online workshop: