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What to do and what NOT to do - when you (or anyone else) writes to get funds or help (17 Nov 17)

This simple check-list will give you a far better chance of success in these dire times

Here is the one thing you should never do. Don’t try to make the reader feel guilty. It kills interest immediately. Nobody likes feeling bad,

Having got that out of the way, does your message:

1. Mention a specific problem - such as a lack of a place for young people to meet which results in their getting in trouble with the police?

2. Give a solution your reader can easily relate to and help with?

3. Talk about people rather than a cause or a project because people give to people?

4. If possible feature a particular person readers can relate to

5. Say it is an emergency, because you are more likely to get money if you do.

6. Say how little money will be spent on administration, because no one wants to see money go to waste, especially now.

7. Does it sound sincere and enthusiastic, because if it doesn’t no one will believe you

8. Does it use friendly and everyday language?

9. Avoid being clever and funny? Money is not funny.

10. Don’t be over enthusiastic because too many exclamation points can be self defeating

11. Have you mentioned that you have other supporters as well?

12. Are there any famous or well known ones, in which case you should mention them.

13. Did you use any independent proof to support your case? Testimonials or press articles are worth their weight in gold.

14. Have you given value or cost comparisons that show why money given to you is money well spent?

15. Remember that one example is worth a thousand boasts about your bid for funds

16. Have you missed anything?

17. Have you given every advantage?

18. Have you overcome every objection people might have to helping you?

19. Remind people exactly what will be achieved if your bid is successful

20. Tell them what problems will result if they don’t give you what you are asking for

21. Use a little fear….”if nothing is done soon…”

22. Remind them it’s so easy to put thing off

23. Make it urgent. “Why not act now. Make it the very next thing you do.”

24. Make it easy – say exactly what to do

Do all these things and you stand a chance a far better chance of being successful but remember this is probably the most difficult letter to write.

That’s because unlike in other sales letters the benefit you are selling to the prospective donor is not obvious. In fact you can’t say that this will make your life easier, or do some thing better for YOU.

It’s all about other people, which is a hard one. So it needs thought and work!

Good luck and please do let me know of any successes - and failures for that matter. We’re here to help. If this topic interests you why not run an in house course on fundraising? Email me at rod@rodlaird.co.uk or phone 01494 772 458.   


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