Today…The power of writing: a demo 10 minutesThe writer’s toolbox 20 minutesIn action 15 minutesTips from the best 10 minutesQuestions The rest
Aline ReedCreative DirectorBluefrog
An introduction Fraudster SerialKiller Journalist
TV Nation 1994
Notional response $868k $1.2 million Less
How?• Persuasive letter• Donor focus• Great technique
Why? 8%SOURCE: Adrian Sargeant, 2000
Introducing the writer’stoolbox…
The storyteller’s tool box Common tools on topGrammar Vocabulary Form Style Magic From Stephen King On writing
The fundraising copywriter’s tool box VocabularyGrammar Persuasion Fundraising Technique knowledge Magic* *And/or hard work/coffee
Tool 1: Vocabulary• You don’t need to know long words• You don’t need a wide vocabulary• You do need to put them together to sound right
VocabularyThe most important words in marketing – apparently.
VocabularyThe most important word in fundraising – you
Vocabulary: George SmithSaxon rather than Latin words have more forceLatin Saxon Information News, facts Indicate Show Immediately Now, rightaway Construct Build, make Discover FindTry swearing with Latin-based oaths.
Tools 2: Grammar• You do need to know the basics• You can break the rules
Grammar• You can start a sentence with ‘And’• A sentence doesn’t always need a verb• A sentence can be one word long or 20• A paragraph can be one word long or 7-8 lines• Sentence length and construction needs to vary
Sharpening common tools Time % Reading Writing TalkingNot entirely scientific as no time for eating and sleeping
Tool 3: Persuasion• You need to build a persuasive argument• Make it easy. Make it right• Meet the donor’s needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Self-actualization – personal growth and fulfilment Ego/Esteem – achievement, status, reputation etc Social – belongingness, love, family, relationships, etc Safety – protection, security, order, stability, etc Physical – food, shelter, warmth, sleep, sex, etc
Needs are more potent than valuesMore Emotional More Rational Change my mood Change my world Amuse me Help me to grow Combat To help Helplessness • Novelty • Status • Relaxing • Safer world • Entertaining • Education • Empowering • Better world • Good ideas • Under- standing Source: Donor Need States. Bluefrog / Tangent, 2007
Help me to grow • Elevate status • Not macro marketing • Emphasis on special treatment • Respect and honesty • Wanted information More Emotional More Rational Change my mood Change my world Amuse me Help me to grow Combat To help Helplessness • Novelty • Status • Relaxing • Safer world • Entertaining • Education • Empowering • Better world • Good ideas • Under- standing
Help me to grow“The best stuff is a couple of sheets with a letter from the professor…not a generic letter just from someone in the company.” Source: The Fundraiser’s guide to mid value donors. Bluefrog 2007
Help me to grow “You know when it’s a computer saying thank you and when it’s a person. And, quite frankly, I prefer if it’s a person.” (Female, 62) Source: After the love has gone. Bluefrog 2008
Help me grow
Just for me
Persuasion: put the donor first• Prioritise donor needs• It’s about what they want to hear• Not what you want to tell them• Via the mediums they want• At the intervals they want it
Tool 4: techniqueYou need to be able to…• write in different voices• tell a story• edit• proof• pull not push
Tool 5: Fundraising knowledgeYou need to…• be able to write or recognise a good fundraising proposition• know what works• understand ask strategies and personalisation• know your audience
Three key areas Creative Data ResearchGood creative is driven by knowledge and information
Free research for the sectorWhy do people give? And why not?
Magic• When a great idea pops into your head• When you put the ingredients together and they work
In action• Good writing doesn’t happen in isolation. You need to think about where the words go and what they look like.
Envelopes• Hand-addressed• Hand-stampedCheaper option• InkjetYou•Test• Best givers
Envelopes• C4 is more expensivebut we use for highvalue warm and cold• Manila costs more butlooks cheaperYou• Think about perceived cost
EnvelopesOther techniques http://www.s• Official• Something inside ofii.org/nod• Celebrate offer e/448#• TeaserYou• Test branded versus non branded• Handwritten note
Letter Damian O’Broin Ask Direct in Ireland http://www.askdirect.ieYou• Read the letter aloud• Be a person, not a computer
Inspiring letters@lettersofnotehttp:www.lettersofnote.comYou• Write to one person• Write with emotion
Inspiring lettersGeorge Smithhttp:www.sofii.orgYou• Use the facts to give acompelling reason to takeaction.
Letter • Write to one person • Capture someone’s attention • Use ‘you’ •Tell an engaging story • Say thank you • Use an interesting signatory • Personalise • Give the letter personality
Letter • Ask for a suitable sum of money • Say what the money will do • Have a target • Have a reply by deadline • Highlight key points •End each page on a split line so….
Letter …that people turn over • Use courier typeface • Sign off in blue ink • Annotate in blue ink • Use a PS to add urgency, sum up the appeal • Direct donor to form, phone or web address
Letter• Long copy worksBut is challenging to construct• Lift letters workBeneficiariesSupportersStaff doing the workFamily
Giving form• Feature your offer•Mini appeal• Try A4• Make it easy to give• Offer other channels for giving• Open up dialogue• Pence per pound• Give donors choice
Reply envelope•Send back to letter signatory• Make it easy to get the form in• Fundraising deadline• Urgent stamp
Enclosure• Ditch the leaflet• Offer more valued content• In a more personal, engaging form
Online•People go on line to give to DM• Estimated increase 20-50%• It’s easyPre-mail email DM appeal Email reminder
OnlineDedicated landing page
Online Pre-email Reminder email
Donor focused newsletters
Income up Three weeks Twelve weeks
Tips from the best
George Orwell• What am I trying to say?• What words will express it?• What image or idiom will make it clearer?• Is the image fresh enough to make the effect?• Could I put it more shortly?• Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
George Smith• Use ‘I’ and ‘you’• Get to the point• Make it sound like someone is talking• Relate the story to the donor• Say what you mean with real words
Robert Louis StevensonThe difficulty of literature is not to write,but to write what you mean;not to affect your reader,but to affect him precisely as you wish.
Over to you
SOFII www.sofii.org @SOFIIisHOT Damian O’Broin Ken Burnett www.askdirect.ie www.kenburnett.com @damianobroin @kenburnett1 Aline Reed Jeff Brookswww.bluefrogcreative.co.uk www.futurefundraisingnow.com @alinereed @jeffbrooks Tom Ahern Mark Phillips www.aherncomm.com www.queerideas.co.uk @thattomahern @markyphillips The agitator Craig Linton www.theagitator.net www.fundraisingdetective.com @frdetective