Three San Francisco hearts: Rainbow, Love, Resilience - 2023 benefit for S.F. General Foundation

Before Sending a Fundraising Appeal Do This, Not That

Three San Francisco hearts: Rainbow, Love, Resilience - 2023 benefit for S.F. General FoundationTaking the time to look at your fundraising message with a critical eye can help you raise a lot more money.

You see, there are right and wrong ways to talk with prospective donors. You’ve likely read a lot on this topic (I know I’ve certainly written a lot on this topic – for starters see here), yet it bears repeating. If you fail to put your best foot forward, you’re going to end up shooting yourself in that foot!

That’s why I’ve developed this checklist to help you get your full share of the philanthropy pie.

Do This, Not That

As you read through this checklist the “to do” part of the equation may sound completely logical at first blush. You may think “of course we do this!”

Good for you. That means you’re thinking correctly.

But… sometimes good intentions get lost in translation during the executing phase. Because a lot of things you shouldn’t be doing creep in and tend to cancel out the good things. And this holds true in spades if you’re generating your letter through ChatGPT or some other AI-enabled app.

Grammatical is not emotional.

There’s nothing wrong with good grammar, of course. But sometimes the best fundraising letters break the rules a bit to come across as conversational. And they borrow from principles of psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics to ramp up the persuasion [TIP: You might want to check out this book.]. Your goal is not to show you can write a coherent sentence. It’s to move your message recipient towards a desired action.

So I encourage you to consider the “do NOT do” part of the equation as well. Then double check your work. Why? Because this stuff is tricky.