My husband is the Executive Director of a very small (teeny) non-profit. Basically, there is just him. He doesn’t have the resources to hire a fast-paced, highly creative marketing team — so he uses me.
Every time he initiates a new appeal for funds he painstakingly writes the copy. So this morning I received the copy. It started with how he liked the snow birds (since we live close to the airport the local air show literally happened in our backyard minus the pesky, hissing megaphone). Then it listed some of the cool things the non-profit had done over the past month or so and ended with: “It’s summer, we experience a shortage of funds. Perhaps you could send a gift.”
Because the charity is so small and is basically personalized by Gareth, that letter will raise a few scattered funds. But he struggled to focus on the art of fund raising.
That’s where the mind comes in… the mind is really the most powerful marketing tool we own.
I took the letter and, inspired by the mediocrity of the inspirational quality of the original letter, I took a huge leap into the abyss of imagination and rewrote it. The new letter was quirky (so is he); a little bit funny (he tries, but not so much); inspiring (without a doubt he inspires). Most importantly, letter was fashioned to do only 1 thing: motivate a gift.
When building a fund raising appeal (whether you are using a letter, a TV spot, a web campaign) stay focused and purposeful. Resist the tendency to lapse into reporting. Save that for communication pieces not charged with the task of raising funds.
Your content development should be like a well positioned argument, where the central thesis (my Literature degree shows a little here) is unmistakeably clear.
Your writing should be simple — create a picture for people to see.
Your content should be motivating — inspire your audience to move beyond who they are and what they imagined they can do.
Your style should be chalked full of character — build a brand by developing a unique and intriguing personality.
The most powerful marketing tool is the mind. The mind identifies the need, fashions the argument and paints the pictures.
Learn the “rules” and tricks of marketing. Know them well.
And then let your mind create, ideate, imagine… because those are the campaigns that will motivate response.