Do your appeals sound like “holiday family” letters?
For many people December’s mail brings two kinds of letters: holiday cards with family letters and appeals from non-profit organizations. And all too often both types of letters sound alike. How come and what can you do to avoid it?
Holiday family letters, the kind you slip into cards, are often seen as “catching up” for friends and family who don’t keep in touch. Sometimes when such letters are received, the person is scrambling to remember how they knew the person or even what relations they have in common. The same thing occurs with fundraising letters. You might get one in the mail and think “when did I support them?” or “how did they get my name again?”
Instead, your holiday appeal letters should be like a warm reminder of a close friendship. Use segmentation to send different letters to different parts of your database. Perhaps a reminder to those who aren’t quite lapsed donors, but maybe who also don’t donate as often or frequently as others. A nice “we’re still thinking about you” to lapsed donors goes a long way. And, of course, your major donors deserve an extra special letter personalized just for them.
Once you’ve segmented your donors and created personalized letters for each group, the last thing to keep in mind is to not make the holiday letters all about you. Think about the family letter you received. Most of the time, even if they don’t mean to, the letter is all about them and their family. It’s a letter designed to tell you what they did, the vacation(s) they went on, even the accomplishments their children had at school. It’s a joyous time, one to celebrate everything that happened through the year, and as an organization, no matter how much you are celebrating those things, sadly, your donors may wonder what role their donation, especially if it was a small dollar one, played in this.
Make sure your end of year letter focuses on the donors. Spotlight what they were able to help you to do. Keep the focus on them. That will ensure that they receive an end of year letter that will spur them to action. After all, Christmas cards are for displaying on the mantel. Your end of the year letter is designed to entice your donors to give during this very busy time.