An exercise that will amplifi your next appeal letter.

Feb 29, 2024

Ready for an exercise? Don’t worry, you don’t need to get out of your chair! Just grab a copy of your latest appeal letter, black and red pens, and a highlighter. Then, read on when you’re ready to get started.

… ready?

Alright! Take the caps off or unclick your pens and start reading through your appeal. First, highlight any mentions of “impact, support, make a difference, mission” and any synonyms for these.

DOWNLOAD: How the right agency can help advance your goals.

Then, read through again and circle any reference of “I,” “we,” “our organization” and your nonprofit’s name with your red pen.

On your last read, use your black pen to circle every time you use “you,” “your support,” “supporters,” “donors” or other terms you use to speak to your audience directly.

And… GO!

You'll need a highlighter, a black and red pen, and your latest appeal letter to complete this exercise.

Why are we doing this?

You might have started catching on as you read your appeal. But the point of this exercise is to help you focus your appeal letter on your donors and what they make possible with their support rather than what your organization is achieving.

Is there a lot more red than black on your page?

Pay special attention to circled words near any highlighted sections.

These are the most critical phrases that speak to your organization’s impact. And if there’s a lot more red than black, this is where you need to start being more donor-centric.

This exercise helps you think differently about your appeal letter and how you talk about your goals, impact, and success. It can help you identify if your nonprofit is the focus of the appeal when it really should be all about your donors and what they make possible with their support.

READ MORE: How to highlight the impact of every donation.

The goal is to identify areas where you can make your appeal letter more donor centric.

Be donor-centric.

You take a lot of pride in your work as you should! You’re doing a lot more than collecting a paycheck. You spend each day making the world a better place.

Your programs and initiatives do a lot of good. And everyone involved, from your development staff to your volunteers deserves a pat on the back.

But that’s not what your appeal letter is about!

So, don’t go on and on about the great things your organization is accomplishing. If you had more red than black, you’ll need to reframe your message to focus on the donor.

It’s not about what your organization can achieve. It’s about what the reader and other supporters like them can make possible with a financial contribution.

READ MORE: Focusing your year-end appeal on a donor-centric story.

Shift the focus from your nonprofit to your donors when talking about the impact of your mission.

How to get started.

Here’s some good news. It’s easy to update your existing appeal letter to make it more donor-centric. And doing so now will give you a “fresh” appeal you can use next year or as part of your spring fundraising campaign.

Let’s go back to the highlighted areas with red circles.

Now, we can’t see your page from here, but let’s say you have a section that reads something like:

Our organization is raising money to help subsidize the cost of after-school services for underserved students, giving them access to the same extracurricular activities as their peers. Will you donate today?

You can make this ask donor-centric by removing your organization from the equation and focusing on the donor instead.

Your support gives underserved students access to the same extracurricular activities as their peers by subsidizing the cost of their after-school services. Will you make a difference?

It’s a small shift that will make a big difference in your ability to raise money and change the world.

The donor really wants to know how their donation will impact a cause that’s important to them. Your nonprofit is just the method they use to make the change they want to see in the world.

You’re the middleman, and it’s best to take a backseat. It’s your donors’ time to shine!

READ MORE: Is your nonprofit suffering from boring storytelling?

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Ready for another workout?

The world is a noisy place. Your nonprofit has an important message to share. But it’s not easy to stand out.

Being more donor-centric in your appeal letter is a good start. But if you’re like other fundraisers, you’re always looking for ways to take the next step to raise more so you can further your impact and make the world a better place.

At amplifi, we’re on a mission to increase the value and effectiveness of fundraising and related communications for nonprofit organizations. After all, our industry is about more than charity. It’s about rallying the world around causes greater than ourselves!

Want to work through other exercises like this alongside an amplifi development strategist?

Then click here to chat with us about amplifying your fundraising strategy!

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