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1st or 3rd person POV for this fundraising appeal?

Published 3 months agoΒ β€’Β 3 min read

Should I look into the mirror or into the camera...? This is the 116th issue of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends. (Your fundraising friends can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

  • 1st or 3rd person POV for this fundraising appeal?
  • Win It in a Minute: Why you should have multiple fundraising asks in an appeal
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

​

Hi Reader,

Have you ever gone out for a dinner for two and shared a couple of dishes rather than each ordering your own meal?

Sometimes a gal wants the best of both worlds!

It can be the same with your fundraising appeals.

You may have a story that could work in 1st or 3rd person. You might think of pros and cons for each.

So, then you ask yourself . . .


1st or 3rd person POV for this fundraising appeal?

Sometimes: both.

Recently, this happened to Brett and me for an appeal we wrote for a client, Friends of the Blue Hills.

We had a great story that might do well told from the 1st or the 3rd person point of view.

We decided to use 3rd person POV for the letter and 1st person POV for the lift note.

Please give the letter below a skim, then I'll explain...

And β€” flip the page.

I hope you noticed:

  1. Writing the letter from the 3rd person POV allowed us to set up in readers an expectation that would effectively frame a punchline.
    ​
    ​Expectation: Anyone who hikes all 125 miles of the Blue Hills trails is a beast.
    ​
    ​Punchline: Loraine did it, and she's 87 years old!
    ​
  2. This approach would be harder to pull off (with authenticity) if told from the 1st person POV.
    ​
  3. We were able to use more best-practices fundraising language about the need and the matching funds offer. This would likely have seemed inauthentic and weird coming from Loraine.

Now please take a look at the lift note, written from Loraine's (1st person) POV:

And flip.

I hope you noticed:

  1. It's rather touching to receive a message β€” on a small sheet of paper that's more yellow than appears here β€” from 87-year-old Loraine.
    ​
  2. We could more fittingly include nostalgic touches such as a typewriter font and "From the desk of..."
    ​
  3. We could share Loraine's 3 trail recommendations directly. Again, this way feels more personal.
    ​
  4. We could flesh out her story, giving it more texture and weight.
    ​
  5. All of the feels are what we want. When donors feel more, they care more and they give more.

A takeaway β€”

Before you start writing, ask yourself:

  • 1st person POV?
    ​
  • 3rd person POV?
    ​
  • both??

Win It in a Minute: Why you should have multiple fundraising asks in an appeal...

Here's the latest in our weekly video series, Win It in a Minute.

You can (and maybe want to?) subscribe here.

In this new video, Julie asks Tom Ahern: "Why should you have multiple fundraising asks in an appeal?"

video preview​

Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

For your brain, heart, and funny bone...

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” Pay for performance: Unethical ... or next big thing? by Tom Ahern (a blog post on the ethics and practicalities of performance bonuses in nonprofit fundraising β€” with thoughts on moral standards, the recognition of exceptional talent, and strategic investment for organizational growth)
    ​
  • Appropriately Aligned β€” Let's Talk About Confidence​ by Jenny Mitchell (a LinkedIn post about self-doubt among high-achieving women β€” fueled by unrealistic and unfair expectations β€” and the need for self-compassion, for embracing and releasing your inner naggy voice, and for nurturing optimal confidence)​
    ​
  • Carefully Worded β€” Imagine the Reader by Eliot Peper (a blog post about how and why it's far too easy to write for yourself or to impress others rather to communicate effectively with a particular audience)
    ​
  • Visually Instructive β€” I distilled my 4 years of marketing lessons into minimalistic visuals by Yasmine Khosrowshahi (a Twitter/X thread that might inspire you to muse profitably about marketing, social media, and network effects)​
    ​
  • Extremely Astute β€” ChatGPT is lazy in December? (a Twitter/X thread explaining research showing the AI appears to have learned from people that during the winter holidays, less work gets done β€” so that's what it does)

Until next time: May you tell every story in the best way possible, reflecting its truth.

Grateful,

PS: In 2024, Brett and I will have room for a new client.

If that might be you, please take a look at our portfolio and/or schedule a free call to talk about how we might work together.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi! We're Julie Cooper and Brett Cooper, fundraising copywriters for great causes. Does your fundraising bring in as much money as it could? You can send donor communications that stir hearts to action. We'd love to help. πŸ’› Start by subscribing to our FREE weekly newsletter.

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