Don’t Bury the Fundraising Story When Writing Appeals

You’ve seen them. You’ll receive ten (or more) of them this coming December. I’m talking about boring fundraising appeal letters.

They start like this: “On behalf of the board of directors of ABC organization …” or “XYZ organization is looking to finish the year strong …”

The writers of these appeals forget that the crucial element of any fundraising appeal is the story. That compelling story about ONE person who’s life was changed by the work of the organization. And the donor is given credit for making that change possible (e.g. “Because of your support …”). It draws the reader in and it makes it about them. That’s the key to making them care and want to support the cause.

Often times there is a story in these appeals, but it’s buried. It’s down in paragraph two, or three, or four. Don’t bury the magic my friends, start with it. Go right into that fundraising story.

And I mean right into it. Not “Let me tell you a story …” or “Did you know …” I’m talking about “Berenice had a problem, and it was getting worse by the day” or “Jonathan couldn’t be there for his son, but he didn’t know where to turn.” Don’t set up the fundraising story, just tell it. In the first sentence. Every single time.