Tag Archives: non-profits

Seven ways to strengthen your fall direct mail appeal.

I could always count on my mother in law to be the first to announce that fall is in the air. At times the proclamation came when spring had just slipped into summer. But it is mid August, and for many nonprofits that means the direct mail package is about to go to print. Before you sign on the dotted line of the press proof, iStock_000021567117Smallask: What, precisely, do I want my reader to think, feel and do in response to this package?

Jot down your answer on a piece of paper. Then ask a friend or colleague (preferably someone from outside your organization) to read the package and ask her what it makes her think, feel and want to do.

If the appeal gets less than an A+, strengthen it by being more intentional about the content (thinking of the three points above) and by: Continue reading

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Are you committing this taboo with your appeals?

Every six weeks or so I get a nasty piece of mail, my visa bill. I don’t like it. Who does? But if the charges on the bill are mine, then they are mine. If my neighbour asked me to pay his visa bill, I’d shake my head in disbelief. I didn’t ring up his charges.

Direct mail appeal

Yet, ‘pay our visa bill’ is a common undertone in direct-mail, fundraising appeals. I received such an appeal recently. A foundation had made a commitment to fund X, Y and Z and would I kindly make a gift toward the project. They have committed. I am asked to pick up the bill. The idea of positioning the donor as a bank bothers me, both as a donor and as a communicator. Continue reading

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A reliable theory for predicting success.

This week I turned 51. I tend to reminisce on my birthday, and this week I found myself back at the beginning. I entered the world in Falun, Sweden. As a child I could never have imagined the path my life has taken. The notion of change is fascinating. What precisely has brought me to this place in life? Why did I make certain decisions and not others? Why do some changes succeed and others fail?

That's  me in the middle.

That’s me in the middle.

In the nonprofit sector we are certainly in the business of change. I think of the case for support as a change agent. It articulates an argument for the change we want to see in the world. The change may be for better access to local healthcare, enhanced literacy, housing for all, access to education, better care for the dying, sustainable communities at home and in faraway places.

Our nonprofits work to bring about important changes in society, and as we do we hear about campaigns that exceed target while still in the quiet phase, and others–with similar mandates and in equally affluent communities–struggle. Why?

While in grad school I did some research into change. I came across a theory Continue reading

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