For many organisations, this is the time of year to start preparing a direct mail Christmas Appeal.
Direct mail is a fantastic tool used to connect with new donors, engage loyal donors and generate income for your cause. So it’s important that you do all you can to get it right.
Fish has put together a little checklist of the nine most important questions you should ask of your appeal.
The Nine Most Important Questions to Ask of Your Appeal
- Is your material donor focused? Use less ‘we, our, us’ and more ‘you, your, you’re’
Be sure to speak to the donor needs, not those of your organisation.
- What response do you want?
Be sure you know your audience. Visualise them and your desired response from them. With DM you want audience to open, read and donate.
- Will your donors be able to follow and comprehend you?
Organise your material. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them again. First and last times are most critical. Transitions are the readers’ road map.
- Do you tell a story?
You need to draw the reader in. Create a picture in their mind about what is happening. Be specific. And be relatable.
- Who is the letter from?
The signatory should be the most influential person in the organisation who is willing to put their name to the letter. This needs to be the same person every time so they can build a relationship with your donor base. (If you want a different view point, have a story within their letter)
- Does the letter speak head to heart?
Balance emotions with facts, but be sure to make facts relevant so people understand. Balance ‘benefits’ and ‘features’. Personalise as much as possible even if with ‘you’.
- Do you use appropriate language and tone?
Use correct basic grammar, but remember it must be conversational as more will be read and remembered. Use everyday language not jargon. It’s a conversation on a piece of paper.
- Have you used some persuasive writing techniques?
You want bite sized chunks – short words, sentences and paragraphs. Repetition. Alliteration. These need to be deliberate aspects to your material.
- Have you made the ask?
Ideally you will have three direct asks. One in the first 50% of the letter, one just before signature and one in the P.S.