Big Impact from a Little Help with Annual Appeal

St Christopher Foundation for Children Annual Appeal 2013

What do you do when you are a 4-person team and one of you is on leave during Annual Appeal season? Call Iris!

It’s hard for a small shop to keep things going when key talent is unavailable. With a few brainstorming sessions and an openness to outside ideas, we were able to bring some new approaches to the Foundation’s Annual Appeal process.

Halfway through the Annual Fund cycle, the letter that we wrote is already the second highest producer ever. It’s working so well that they decided to use our letter for the Spring Appeal “because it worked.”

What made it work so well?

  1. Flip the pitch – It’s all about you. Focusing on the donor works.
  2. Loosen your style – Write like you are speaking to a specific donor. Short sentences. Questions. Direct language. Search your copy for commas and cut them out.
  3. Work the envelope – SCFC had never started their messaging on the envelope before so it was both a change and a stronger message.
  4. Integration – There was always a donation page online, but this year we added web page with a version of the letter to reinforce the message to people who saw the letter and provide a reason to give to web visitors.

St Christopher's Foundation for Children Home Page - Annual Appeal Image

When you are used to doing things yourself, it can be hard to get behind change. Especially in fundraising. What if it doesn’t work? Like most projects, this one had a lot of input from the staff. We listened to what they felt they couldn’t live without and blended those with our ideas. This shows that any steps toward donor centered messaging can make a big difference.

Are you trying something new in your annual campaign? I’d love to hear how its working.

– Beth


Beth Brodovsky is President of Iris Creative Group, Inc, a marketing communications firm focused on driving participation in member-focused organization.

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