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Storytelling
with Appeal
Letters
Presenter: Mazarine Treyz, Author
The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundraising
About the presenter

Author of The Wild Woman's Guide
to Fundraising, called one of the top
10 nonprofit books of 2010 by Beth
Kanter, author of The Networked
Nonprofit.
Trained over 3,000 people from
2011 to 2013 in fundraising.
30,000 monthly readers on
WildWomanFundraising.com
Poll Question

1. Do you know what a grand control is?
2. Have you ever segmented your list by
amount, date given?
3. Have you ever segmented your list by
reason donors gave?
What You'll Learn Today
What makes a good header on your appeal letter,
with lots of real life examples
What pictures are best in your appeal letter?
How to study the grand controls
What makes a good story for your letter?
And more.
What helps create urgency in your letter?
What enclosures help lend authority to your
nonprofit?
What should your envelope look like (with lots of
successful examples)?
What makes a good PS, (with even more real
life examples!)
Why Is Direct Mail So Important?
US Donors give online 10% of the time.
US Donors give offline 11% of the time (not through direct
mail) AND
US Donors give 79% of the
time through direct mail.
What makes a good header?
Top Example:
Audubon Grand
control
Bottom Example:
Women's Aid
What makes a good header?
Example:
Acquisition mailing
from Book Aid
International
What makes a good header?
Top example: Habitat
for Humanity grand
control
Bottom Example:
Greenpeace
What makes a good header?
Top example: Salvation
Army holiday grand
control
Bottom Example:
Jewish Care
Header Must Know and Must Do
Must Know






Headers or Headlines
give urgency to your
letter
They should be clear
and relate to your
picture
They should introduce
your story, or an
interesting fact, and
communicate the drama
of your cause

Must Do






Try doing a split test with and
without a headline for your
next appeal.
Make sure your headline is no
longer than 3 lines.
Use a trusted font, like
Poynter Text.
What pictures are best?

Plan International USA uses a gift catalog
What pictures are best?
What pictures are best?
What pictures are best?
DO USE:
Pictures of your staff interacting
with a person/animal being helped
by your nonprofit
Pictures that show the need.
What pictures are worst?
AVOID:
●
Open sores & deformity.
●
Long shots.
●
Sexy teenagers.
●
Person in an airport waving goodbye.
●
Buildings.
What pictures are best?
Must Know:
●

●

Your picture tells
a story.
Quality
photographs of
your cause are
worth real
money.

Must Do:
●

●

●

Test two different types
of pictures in your next
appeal letter.
Try a happy picture,
and a sad picture, and
see which works better.
Make sure to put a
caption under your
picture.
What makes a good story for your letter?
CONFLICT.
What makes a good story for your letter?
CONFLICT.
Example from
Amnesty
International:
(trigger warning:
rape)
What makes a good story for your letter?
CONFLICT.

Example from Botton Village appeal
What makes a good story for your letter?
What Helps Create Urgency?
Try the 7 key Emotions that make people give
Fear
Greed
Guilt
Anger
Exclusivity
Salvation
Flattery
What Helps Create Urgency?
Please try to give something.
I hope you will join in contributing...
We desperately need your help.
We cannot continue our work without your help.
What Helps Create Urgency?
Look at these Examples of Starting text after the
headline:
1. “It’s a dark and dreary night and the wind is spattering
raindrops on my window. But, before I retire for the evening,
I must write to dear friends like you and tell you about the
troubles I face.
2. This is the most difficult letter I have ever written in the 10
years I have been the executive director of your domestic
violence nonprofit.
What Helps Create Urgency?
●
●
●
●
●
●
●

Emergency...
Crisis...
Disaster...
Threat...
Immediate...
Urgent...
Hurry...
What Helps Create Urgency?
What Helps Create Urgency?

Right now, can you think of starting text that
would create urgency for your next appeal
letter?
Survey

Have you ever added different enclosures to a direct mail
appeal?
Have you ever used enclosures aside from remits? If so,
have you used;
●
Brochures
●
A sticky note
●
A buck slip
●
Other
●
Some of the above
●
All of the above
2. What were your results?
●
Better return with enclosures
●
Same return
●
Worse return
What Enclosures Work?

Obviously, you
should always
use a remit
envelope. But
what else?
What Enclosures Work?
Coins:
According to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The envelopes with nickels earned 75% more than the
others
What Enclosures Work?
Coins can also be controversial
What Enclosures Work?
Other ideas:
Magnets: ASPCA sent a large picture frame magnet, with seven
smaller magnets on the inside. On each one is a slogan (see below)
What Enclosures Work?
The Letter itself!
Ryton Gardens made their entire mailing on brown paper, so it could
be converted into seed pots. (see below)
What Enclosures
Work?
What
Enclosures
Work?

Other ideas: Diabetes Research
Wellness Foundation uses Socks!
What should your envelope look like?
Size: Your outer envelope doesn't have to be a #10.
It may be more expensive, but you might stand out
from other, similar envelopes this way.
What should your envelope look like?
Texture: Use a varnish or
printed faux finish, or make
your envelope look like, for
example, interdepartmental
mail.
What should your envelope look like?
What should your envelope look like?
From The Longwood
Garden appeal
What should your envelope look like?
Top example: Salvation
Army holiday appeal
Bottom example:
Greenpeace
What is the Anatomy of Your Appeal?
Most Letters follow this
format:
1) Headline or "Johnson Box"
2) Salutation, such as Dear Friend, Dear Joe, or Dear Cat Lover
3) Short, attention-grabbing first sentence
4) Body copy that tells a story, presents a problem and solution, and/or
presents your offer, along with benefits and details
5) Call to action, such as "Use the envelope and give today!"
6) Guarantee to back up your offer
7) Deadline (if appropriate) to prompt faster response
8) Sign off with a handwritten signature
9) P.S. or Post Script that presents a prime benefit, restatement of the
offer, deadline reminder, bonus offer, or whatever you want to highlight
10) Remit envelope
11) Possibly a buck slip or other enclosure.
More Examples To Research
Top 5 Non-Profit Mailers
Smithsonian Institute – They generate $532 million per year.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF – They generate $454 million per year.
Habitat for Humanity – They generate $356 million per year.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – They generate $269 million per year.
March of Dimes – They generate $248 million per year.
Source: http://www.changeofaddress.org/blog/2010/top-20-us-direct-mail-marketers
PS examples
Restatement of the letter
headline.
“Could you help a child like
Belinda today?”
Restatement of the offer.
“If you give $25 today, your
donation will be matched by a
generous anonymous donor!”
PS examples
Restatement of the premium.
“If you give $250 today, we'd love to ask you to join
us on a steamboat cruise with the Circle of Hope
Giving Society. Please give today.”
Restatement of how to use the reply devices.
“When you put your check for $50 in the envelope
enclosed, you'll be helping not just one dog, but
helping ensure that ten more dogs can find forever
homes”
Restatement of the crisis
“This Christmas, our children are hungrier than ever.
Please, help ten children get dinner with your
generous gift of $100 today.”
If you're not getting enough money in
the mail, what are 8 things you can
change?
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●

Add or Remove the teaser on the outside of the envelope
Use live stamps to pay the return postage.
Increase the number of Asks in your letter
Help donors understand what their gifts will mean.
Add something donor has to interact with.
Add a time limit
Insert a lift note.
Remove your brochure
Thank you
Thank you for all that you do for your cause
and for attending today.
I would love your honest feedback on this
presentation. I am always trying to improve.
If you are interested in learning even more
about how to get more money in the mail,
check out my 6 week e-course, The Power
of Appealing Appeals, at
http://wildwomanfundraising.com/shop
 
Follow up questions
Mazarine Treyz
info@wildwomanfundraising.com
Phone:  (512) 763-5161
 

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Storytelling with Appeal Letters

  • 1. Storytelling with Appeal Letters Presenter: Mazarine Treyz, Author The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundraising
  • 2. About the presenter Author of The Wild Woman's Guide to Fundraising, called one of the top 10 nonprofit books of 2010 by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit. Trained over 3,000 people from 2011 to 2013 in fundraising. 30,000 monthly readers on WildWomanFundraising.com
  • 3. Poll Question 1. Do you know what a grand control is? 2. Have you ever segmented your list by amount, date given? 3. Have you ever segmented your list by reason donors gave?
  • 4. What You'll Learn Today What makes a good header on your appeal letter, with lots of real life examples What pictures are best in your appeal letter? How to study the grand controls What makes a good story for your letter?
  • 5. And more. What helps create urgency in your letter? What enclosures help lend authority to your nonprofit? What should your envelope look like (with lots of successful examples)? What makes a good PS, (with even more real life examples!)
  • 6. Why Is Direct Mail So Important? US Donors give online 10% of the time. US Donors give offline 11% of the time (not through direct mail) AND US Donors give 79% of the time through direct mail.
  • 7. What makes a good header? Top Example: Audubon Grand control Bottom Example: Women's Aid
  • 8. What makes a good header? Example: Acquisition mailing from Book Aid International
  • 9. What makes a good header? Top example: Habitat for Humanity grand control Bottom Example: Greenpeace
  • 10. What makes a good header? Top example: Salvation Army holiday grand control Bottom Example: Jewish Care
  • 11. Header Must Know and Must Do Must Know    Headers or Headlines give urgency to your letter They should be clear and relate to your picture They should introduce your story, or an interesting fact, and communicate the drama of your cause Must Do    Try doing a split test with and without a headline for your next appeal. Make sure your headline is no longer than 3 lines. Use a trusted font, like Poynter Text.
  • 12. What pictures are best? Plan International USA uses a gift catalog
  • 15. What pictures are best? DO USE: Pictures of your staff interacting with a person/animal being helped by your nonprofit Pictures that show the need.
  • 16. What pictures are worst? AVOID: ● Open sores & deformity. ● Long shots. ● Sexy teenagers. ● Person in an airport waving goodbye. ● Buildings.
  • 17. What pictures are best? Must Know: ● ● Your picture tells a story. Quality photographs of your cause are worth real money. Must Do: ● ● ● Test two different types of pictures in your next appeal letter. Try a happy picture, and a sad picture, and see which works better. Make sure to put a caption under your picture.
  • 18. What makes a good story for your letter? CONFLICT.
  • 19. What makes a good story for your letter? CONFLICT. Example from Amnesty International: (trigger warning: rape)
  • 20. What makes a good story for your letter? CONFLICT. Example from Botton Village appeal
  • 21. What makes a good story for your letter?
  • 22. What Helps Create Urgency? Try the 7 key Emotions that make people give Fear Greed Guilt Anger Exclusivity Salvation Flattery
  • 23. What Helps Create Urgency? Please try to give something. I hope you will join in contributing... We desperately need your help. We cannot continue our work without your help.
  • 24. What Helps Create Urgency? Look at these Examples of Starting text after the headline: 1. “It’s a dark and dreary night and the wind is spattering raindrops on my window. But, before I retire for the evening, I must write to dear friends like you and tell you about the troubles I face. 2. This is the most difficult letter I have ever written in the 10 years I have been the executive director of your domestic violence nonprofit.
  • 25. What Helps Create Urgency? ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Emergency... Crisis... Disaster... Threat... Immediate... Urgent... Hurry...
  • 26. What Helps Create Urgency?
  • 27. What Helps Create Urgency? Right now, can you think of starting text that would create urgency for your next appeal letter?
  • 28. Survey Have you ever added different enclosures to a direct mail appeal? Have you ever used enclosures aside from remits? If so, have you used; ● Brochures ● A sticky note ● A buck slip ● Other ● Some of the above ● All of the above 2. What were your results? ● Better return with enclosures ● Same return ● Worse return
  • 29. What Enclosures Work? Obviously, you should always use a remit envelope. But what else?
  • 30. What Enclosures Work? Coins: According to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society The envelopes with nickels earned 75% more than the others
  • 31. What Enclosures Work? Coins can also be controversial
  • 32. What Enclosures Work? Other ideas: Magnets: ASPCA sent a large picture frame magnet, with seven smaller magnets on the inside. On each one is a slogan (see below)
  • 33. What Enclosures Work? The Letter itself! Ryton Gardens made their entire mailing on brown paper, so it could be converted into seed pots. (see below)
  • 35. What Enclosures Work? Other ideas: Diabetes Research Wellness Foundation uses Socks!
  • 36. What should your envelope look like? Size: Your outer envelope doesn't have to be a #10. It may be more expensive, but you might stand out from other, similar envelopes this way.
  • 37. What should your envelope look like? Texture: Use a varnish or printed faux finish, or make your envelope look like, for example, interdepartmental mail.
  • 38. What should your envelope look like?
  • 39. What should your envelope look like? From The Longwood Garden appeal
  • 40. What should your envelope look like? Top example: Salvation Army holiday appeal Bottom example: Greenpeace
  • 41. What is the Anatomy of Your Appeal? Most Letters follow this format: 1) Headline or "Johnson Box" 2) Salutation, such as Dear Friend, Dear Joe, or Dear Cat Lover 3) Short, attention-grabbing first sentence 4) Body copy that tells a story, presents a problem and solution, and/or presents your offer, along with benefits and details 5) Call to action, such as "Use the envelope and give today!" 6) Guarantee to back up your offer 7) Deadline (if appropriate) to prompt faster response 8) Sign off with a handwritten signature 9) P.S. or Post Script that presents a prime benefit, restatement of the offer, deadline reminder, bonus offer, or whatever you want to highlight 10) Remit envelope 11) Possibly a buck slip or other enclosure.
  • 42. More Examples To Research Top 5 Non-Profit Mailers Smithsonian Institute – They generate $532 million per year. U.S. Fund for UNICEF – They generate $454 million per year. Habitat for Humanity – They generate $356 million per year. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – They generate $269 million per year. March of Dimes – They generate $248 million per year. Source: http://www.changeofaddress.org/blog/2010/top-20-us-direct-mail-marketers
  • 43. PS examples Restatement of the letter headline. “Could you help a child like Belinda today?” Restatement of the offer. “If you give $25 today, your donation will be matched by a generous anonymous donor!”
  • 44. PS examples Restatement of the premium. “If you give $250 today, we'd love to ask you to join us on a steamboat cruise with the Circle of Hope Giving Society. Please give today.” Restatement of how to use the reply devices. “When you put your check for $50 in the envelope enclosed, you'll be helping not just one dog, but helping ensure that ten more dogs can find forever homes” Restatement of the crisis “This Christmas, our children are hungrier than ever. Please, help ten children get dinner with your generous gift of $100 today.”
  • 45. If you're not getting enough money in the mail, what are 8 things you can change? ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Add or Remove the teaser on the outside of the envelope Use live stamps to pay the return postage. Increase the number of Asks in your letter Help donors understand what their gifts will mean. Add something donor has to interact with. Add a time limit Insert a lift note. Remove your brochure
  • 46. Thank you Thank you for all that you do for your cause and for attending today. I would love your honest feedback on this presentation. I am always trying to improve. If you are interested in learning even more about how to get more money in the mail, check out my 6 week e-course, The Power of Appealing Appeals, at http://wildwomanfundraising.com/shop   Follow up questions Mazarine Treyz info@wildwomanfundraising.com Phone:  (512) 763-5161