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Should you omit recent donors from your year-end fundraising appeal?

Published 7 months agoΒ β€’Β 3 min read

Does recency make the heart grow fonder? πŸ’— Read on to find out... This is the 106th issue of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you find value here, please tell your lovely peeps. (Your lovely peeps can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

  • Should you omit recent donors from your year-end fundraising appeal? (w/ Win It in a Minute)
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Hi Reader,

Last Thursday, we produced a year-end appeal writing webinar with training from Tom Ahern and unlimited Q&A session featuring Tom and Jeff Brooks.

It was wonderful!

One highlight for me was when a webby attendee asked...


"Should you omit recent donors from your year-end fundraising appeal?"

Jeff Brooks' answer to this question made my fundraising heart go pitter-patter.

Judging by Tom's reaction, I think he felt the same:

Here's our latest Win It in a Minute video so you can see for yourself:

video preview​

(Want more free weekly videos like this? Subscribe here.)

​
And here's the transcript in case you prefer to read...
​

Julie Cooper

Okay, Elise has this question: "Should we do a soft ask for the year-end appeal to recent donors and a hard ask appeal to donors who haven't given in the last three months?" So, do you go easy on donors who have given recently?

Jeff Brooks

Oh, I see. Okay. Yeah, no, don't do that; you're wasting your time. Send the hard ask to everybody.

Julie Cooper

Right. And recency (research) tells us that donors who have given recently are more apt to give to us again.

Jeff Brooks

So okay, I've done testing on this. And we said, Hey okay, let's look. And (you can do this to your data anytime) you say, β€œWho responded to this appeal?”
​
Okay, here's all the people who responded. Now let's cut those people up into segments by when their previous gift was. And the people whose previous gift was between 1 day ago and 30 days ago are four times as likely to give as the overall audience β€” so massively more likely.

And then it drops and drops and drops. And by the time you get out to about eight months, you're actually giving a rate of half or a quarter as much as the overall audience gives.

So don't go easy on those three-month people; they are the ones who are most feeling good about you and most excited about giving. Just ask them again. Never think of asking as an imposition. It's not, it's a joy. You're giving somebody an opportunity to be themselves. (So I'll stop. I’m getting excited.)

Julie Cooper

I'm just glancing at the chat, and Elisa is asking, "What about major donors? Do we suppress them?"

Jeff Brooks

Not unless you have a really specific reason to suppress them.

You might know: okay, I talked to this major donor and she said, "Here's your gift." I'm going to say here's the check for six figures. I'm not going to give again until a year from now. And you know, she's not BS-ing you. You know, she really means that because that's what she did last year. Then, okay, maybe suppress that person.

But you should have a very specific reason to take somebody out of a solicitation. You should know that solicitation is pointless before you do. In fact, you could even say, β€œHey, I sent you that appeal. It's that appeal we send to all our donors, but you might like to see it.” So you can always treat them more like an insider. β€œI'm just showing you FYI.” And guess what? They sometimes give to that.

Tom Ahern

Yes, they do!

Julie Cooper

Awesome. Great. Okay, Elise. I hope that helped.

(And we hope it helped you too!)


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

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

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” Educating is not fundraising ... so what is?​ by Jeff Brooks (a blog post about why educating donors is and ought to remain a separate lane from fundraising)​
    ​
  • Optionally Diversified β€” How to Create a Successful Informed Delivery Campaign​ via USPS Delivers (an informational article explaining how you can amplify your org's direct mail impact using interactive email previews and digital content for the 37 million Americans who've opted into the USPS's informed delivery program)​
    ​
  • Robotically Human β€” postalgia.ink (a site where you can pay to "Send memorable handwritten letters, at scale. Penned by robots. Remarkably human.")
    ​
  • Generationally Different β€” Vocal Fry: what it is, who does it, and why people hate it!​ by Dr. Geoff Lindsey (a 27-minute video explaining the manner of speech you might more commonly hear from someone who is a millennial or younger, especially where ends of sentences sound relatively "creaky")​
    ​
  • Readily Available β€” Transform casual photos into professional headshots via BetterPic (a site where you can pay to use AI to turn photos of yourself you already have on hand into quality headshots you can use for social media, etc.)

Until next time: May you always love on your most recent donors by sending them your latest appeals, meeting their love with more love β€” in the form of a giving opportunity!

Grateful,

PS: Thanks to all who joined us for last week's EOY appeal-writing webby. Brett and I hope you found it as helpful and inspiring as we did!

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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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