Worth Considering: Go long! (with long letters)

Worth Considering from Matt HuggEver notice what people say is often very different than what they do? What seems logical and “intuitive” can be completely wrong. In fundraising you only need to look as far as the mailbox.

Time and time again, from volunteers and staff alike, I hear the mantra “I don’t have time to read a long letter.” Yet my experience and other direct mail experts will tell you, long letters can get results – especially in “acquisition” mailings, when you want to attract someone as a new donor.

Think of it this way. When you meet someone for the first time, do you say “let me make this short and to the point: give me money”? No, you have a talk about your mission and why they should take part. You paint a picture of your organization’s vision for a better world. You invite them to join you in the cause.

But who has time to read all of that?

You do. I do. They do…if it’s important to them. Each of us makes space in our day for issues that are important to us – in our jobs, our families, our dreams for a better world. If you’re mailing to the right people – the ones that have an affinity for your cause, they will read.

Of course you make the reading easy for them. You use bullets, you bold and underline worlds, and you write in an engaging manner.

Of course, I’m biased. Writing letters – short or long – is my work. I would be happy to write letters for you and your cause. But more than that, your success is my success, so if a longer letter gets more donors and more dollars – that’s great for both of us.

So once in a while – go long.

Time to change

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No, this isn’t a missive about being time to change how you do things (although, if you feel you need to, please, consider this a nudge!) This is a note about a change in my world which I think we both can benefit from.

As of March 17, this “column” (this blog) moved over to the new NonProfit Pro magazine (formerly “Fundraising Success” magazine). I highly encourage you to subscribe. To find it, head to this link: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper

NonProfit Pro is a magazine for those of you who are professional nonprofit leaders. Its content will include fundraising and more… and my blog, “Digging Deeper” will do the same. Yes, you’ll find some of the fundraising thoughts I’ve provided for the last several years to you, and you’ll see some new material based on what I teach and observe in the nonprofit world.

I look forward to “seeing” you at my new address: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/channel/digging-deeper

Best wishes,

 

Matt

Sign up for the RSS feed here: http://www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com/links/npprotodaysignup/index.html?src=hdlk14

and find the other NonProfit Pro sites here:

 

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: Are your donors on vacation… or is fundraising?

Hugg's Monthly TipIn our business – the business of soliciting funds – there seems to be an unwritten “truth” that soliciting in the summer produces poor results. We might be able to do a survey of 1000 nonprofits and find that yes, this is the case. But why?

It’s obvious, right? People go on vacations, their thoughts are on “summer” things and they only do the essentials, right? As a result, you make less solicitations in the summer.
Hmmmm… I’m not so sure. Are you getting less because they’re doing more, or is it simply that you’re asking less?

As Americans, we probably take the least amount of vacation than any other industrialized society… less than two weeks a year. I found when I did a lot of travel, that in the Northeast US where grade school traditionally starts after Labor Day, a lot of that summer vacation was in the last week or two of August. With those two weeks out, that leaves 12 of the 14 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day when most folks are leading a relatively “normal” life.

I say mail! Don’t let your fundraising take a summer vacation. You could be surprised. But even if you’re not, you’re there when everyone else isn’t… and being top of mind is the most valuable place to be, for gifts today, and when they do give, tomorrow.

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: Have you planned for planned giving?

Hugg's Monthly TipHave you planned for planned giving? I’ll go out on a not-so-long limb and say that most nonprofit managers (even fundraisers) wake up in a sweat when they hear the words “planned giving.” Too bad. Planned giving can be your best friend, especially if you have any kind of track record in direct mail solicitations. Planned giving isn’t about understanding complicated tax law, it’s about understanding how to relate to people at a deep enough level so that they trust you with their eternal legacy. And you know who usually makes planned gifts? Long term annual fund donors. Time to check your pledge cards and web site. Do your donors know that your organization can go in their will?