Countdown To The Money, Week 7: The Wrong Pronouns In Your Appeal Can Hurt You

Updated: Nov 21


Imagine two conversations:


Conversation one:

Man: I love your Tesla!

Woman: Oh! Thanks, having one has been my dream for years, and I love it.

Man: We share the same dream!

The woman talks about how she scrimped to save enough money to get her dream car. The man listens intently, repeating her values and admiring them. There is excellent potential for a relationship here!

Conversation two:

Man: I love my Tesla. It makes me feel like I am a rock star! People notice me driving it and stare when I drive by! It is impressive how it updates for free over the Wi-Fi while I am sleeping; there is no need to go to the dealership. I have even forgotten how much gas costs; my family loves to wave when we drive by gas stations! It has made me more environmentally conscious; I have now converted my home to solar!


The woman nods politely, excuses herself, and runs like a racehorse when she gets out of his sight. There is no hope for relationship here.

____________________________________________________________________________


We are nine weeks away from the most lucrative week and day of the year: The last week of December and December 31st. Your end-of-year campaign can make or break your organization this year. It can also determine your level of success in 2023.

Knowing your end-of-year campaign, you should begin to craft your all-important appeal. How you make this appeal is of supreme importance.

The sad truth is most end-of-year fundraising appeals will be ignored.

Why? Because most fundraisers write their appeals like the man in conversation two: IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM.

Last December, I received one of these appeals. I went through it and marked every instance of I, Us, We, Our, and My. Here's what it looked like:


This letter is all about:

  • "our day to day caring"

  • "our facilities"

  • what "we" purchased

  • "our living space"

  • "our residents,"

  • "our computer lab"

  • "our Family Living Rooms

  • "we" provide

  • "our addicted men and women"

  • "we look forward"

  • "our goal"

  • "our services"

  • "we are introducing"

  • "Our year end"

  • "our shelter"

  • "our operations"

  • "our residents"

  • "We have to ensure"

  • "we have funds"

  • "our facility"

  • "enables us"

  • "our mission"


TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF, YOUR STAFF, YOUR FACILITIES, YOUR NEEDS IS NOT FUNDRAISING!.

FUNDRAISING IS NOT ABOUT YOU; IT IS ABOUT THE DONOR.

Talking about the competency of your staff, facilities, brand, degrees, or methodology is not fundraising. When donors give to you, it has less to do with what is going on in your organization and more with what is going on in their heads!

You get inside donors' heads when you stop talking and bragging about yourself and focus on how they can change the world through your mission!

Change all the pronouns I, Us, We, Our, and My to fundraising's most magic word: YOU. Make your appeal about them. Jeff Brooks was once asked to create a fundraising template to help novice writers, his solution:

Dear Friend,


You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

Sincerely

[signature]

PS You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You.

He goes on to give a more practical version:


When you see a homeless person sitting on a park bench or sleeping under a bridge, you wonder what you should do. That's the kind of person you are.


Do you give a homeless person some spare change? Is that kind and helpful, or does it just make things worse?


That decision is up to you. But let me tell you something you can do that you'll be completely confident is the right thing: Send a gift to cover the cost of having homeless people stay at our shelter.


When you send your gift, you'll know you're meeting real needs, not supporting addictions.


Your donation will make their lives better. Not just for a few minutes, or a day, or even a few weeks. You'll help them find permanent change. Get them off the street and into a joyful, productive new life that every person wants and deserves.


You'll improve our whole community!

The sinister pronouns in fundraising: I, Us, We, Our, and My

The magic words in fundraising: "You" and its variations (you'd, you'll, you're, your, yours, yourself, and you've)

The key to fundraising is allowing the donor to make a difference with their gift.

Donors want to solve injustices more than help your organization.

Donors want to fix problems more than help your organization.

Donors want to be the answer more than help your organization.

Fundraising becomes fun when donors see how they can make a difference.

Appeals and newsletters built with this understanding become exciting and powerful. Websites built around solving a problem rather than around a person or organization are more engaging.


If it helps, I will share a letter I created for one of my clients for their end-of-year fundraising. With this letter, they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Use it, copy it, change what you need to change, and get the money you need! CLICK HERE


Hope you get it all and more!


David


P.S. Take a look at a successful EOY story based fundraising letter. It's free. CLICK HERE




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