What happens when you
make a donation...
Speed of thank you % of charities
• Only 83% sent an email < 2 working days 28%
• 2-5 working days 22%
Only 72% posted a thank
you 6-10 working days 17%
> 10 working days 5%
*mystery shopping August 2008
No written thank
Mark’s mum doesn’t
know he’s sleeping rough,
and that’s not the worst of it...
“...For Mark it all started when he went into care aged just 11.
Of course there have been plenty of struggles along the way,
and frankly, he doesn’t blame anyone but himself. He’s in his
thirties now, and only became homeless three years ago after
returning to Ireland from the UK, reluctantly leaving his two
children and broken marriage behind him...”
“...As if things weren’t bad enough, Mark’s life took an even
worse turn shortly afterwards. He was knocked down by a
vehicle that mounted the pavement and came to rest on his leg,
badly injuring his ankle. While in hospital having his injuries
treated, Mark’s leg wound became infected with the MRSA
Write a longer letter.
And long doesn’t mean 2 pages.
“All my experience says that for a great many products, long copy sells more than
short. ... I could give you countless ... examples of long copy which has made the cash
register ring, notably for Mercedes cars. Not only in the United States, but all over the
I believe, without any research to support me, that advertisements with long copy
convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the
copy or not.
Direct response advertisers know that short copy doesn’t sell. In split run tests, long
copy invariably outsells short copy.”
“Only amateurs use short copy”
Personalise. And, <firstname>, not
just by using my name here & there.
4 things to personalise
‣ Ask amount
‣ Theme or topic
‣ Giving history
‣ Survey data
‣ Serif face for body copy
‣ Avoid quirky faces and large amounts of italics
‣ 12pt type with at least 2pts of leading
‣ Lines between paragraphs
‣ Indent paragraphs
‣ Big tick boxes & plenty of room on forms
Read these books
‣ Why I Write - George Orwell
‣ Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion -
Robert B. Cialdini
‣ Made to Stick - Chip & Dan Heath
‣ The Elements of Style - Strunk & White
‣ The IDM Marketing Guide
Read these books
‣ The Political Brain - Drew Westen
‣ Good to Great and the Social Sectors - Jim
‣ Type & Layout - Jim Wheildon
‣ Who will run the frog hospital? - Lorrie Moore
And read this one too...
(*recommended by Conor Byrne)
Read this book too
‣ Common Sense Direct Marketing
- Drayton Bird
Optimise your SEO.
(Can I find you online?)
Google Ireland only search: “third world charities”
Use Twitter to engage your donors.
(*hat tip to Howard Lake).
“Try out the newer channels like Twitter. Some of your supporters will already be using it, so will love the
opportunity to engage with you in this way. Twitter is a good way of building up an opt-in list, but don't use
it for plain fundraising asks. It's more of a conversation - use it to listen and learn from your supportersquot;
– Howard Lake, fundraising.co.uk
Copywriting Top 10
‣ Use ‘I’ and ‘You’. Especially ‘You’
‣ Use simple English.
‣ Use short sentences and vary the lengths.
‣ Use short paragraphs and vary the lengths.
‣ Avoid jargon.
Copywriting Top 10
‣ Use active rather than passive language.
‣ Make sure it sounds like someone talking.
‣ Ask for money, not support.
‣ Make it urgent.
‣ Be concise and to the point. But make it as long
as it needs to be to convince the reader.
Designate funds. Donors don’t want
to pay for the paperclips.
Prioritise donor care & retention.
Don’t forget about recruitment.
Be realistic. Plan for lower returns.
Invest in the areas that give you the best return.
All our data over the last six months suggests direct
marketing is holding it’s own or increasing.
< 12 months €1000+
months 1 gift
months 2+ gifts
> 4 years < €50
Spend the most time and money on
your best donors.
80% of your income will come from
20% of your donors.
10 more tips.
(*suggested by George in TW CAT)
‣ Authenticity. ‣ Stamp on outer envelope.
‣ Ask volunteers for a ‣ Ask your trustees for their
donation. address books.
‣ Hand-sign high value ‣ Tell your donors what their
donors. donations have achieved.
‣ Hide the matching codes. ‣ Use some thank you letters
to recruit direct debits.
‣ Variable tax copy - how
‣ Use reminder mailings to
much the extra will
achieve. boost income.
The psychology of
...do your donors a favour.
‣ Commitment & consistency
...encourage donors to make a public commitment &
remind them why they supported you in the first place.
‣ Social proof
...if everyone else is doing it then why aren’t we?
The psychology of
...is your organisation likable?
...look and sound like you know what you’re talking
...what’s limited is valuable
You don’t have to reinvent the
wheel every time.
Donate to loads of charities.
Especially your own.
Include an ask in your newsletter.
(Or even just an reply envelope).
Don’t forget to make the most of
George Orwell’s six commands for
‣ Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech
which you are used to seeing in print.
‣ Never use a long word when a short one will do.
‣ If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
‣ Never use the passive where you can use the active.
‣ Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon
word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
‣ Break any of these rules sooner than say anything