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Your donors probably don't remember your last story

Published about 2 months agoΒ β€’Β 3 min read

Wait, am I supposed to remember this?
This is the 117th Fundraising Writing Newsletter.
If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends.
​(Your fundraising friends can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

  • Your donors probably don't remember your last story
  • Win It in a Minute with Tom Ahern (video): What Is Identity-Based Fundraising? Insights into why donors choose to give long-term
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

Wednesday, January 3, 2023

​

Hi Reader,

You know how pretty much everything pre-Covid feels like it happened at least 10 years ago?

(It's not just me, right?)

Time is weird. So is memory. There are just too many things to keep track of.

Heck, like Kermit (above), I could have you tell me your name and forget it 5 seconds later. No offense β€” you're awesome. It's not you, it's me.

If you can relate, you can see why...


Your donors probably don't remember your last story

This can be a problem if you assume your donors in fact do remember your last story.

For example, here's a mistake to avoid in your newsletters:

In November, we shared with you how Sarah was living on the streets, hopeless. Today, Sarah has a fresh start. Because of you, she is off the streets, safe, warm, hopeful, and happy. Your generosity empowered Sarah, via our Lifeline Program, to secure a furnished apartment...

Notice that the impact and donor-relevant YOU language here are on point β€” yet the messaging is not as strong as it could be. To fully feel the impact of Sarah's transformation, we first need to fully remember Sarah.

It's not unlike with a favorite tv show. You love it. You watch it regularly. Still, you benefit from the regular reminders: e.g., "Previously, on Survivor..."

To really feel the transformation, we need the full story.

We need a more detailed recap of the problem.

Something like:

You might remember Sarah. After bravely escaping an abusive partner and fleeing to a different state, she was left with no money, no job, and no support system. For eight weeks, she lived out of her rusty old Ford Taurus. Then it broke down, and she couldn't afford the repairs. Suddenly, Sarah found herself out on the streets: cold, hungry, afraid, and alone.
​
But today, Sarah has a fresh start. Because of you, she is off the streets, safe, warm, hopeful, and happy. Your generosity empowered Sarah, via our Lifeline Program, to secure a furnished apartment...

These are simplified examples, but I trust you get the idea. The second example is the way to go because it highlights the impact by first recapping the problem so as to establish a striking contrast between the problem and the solution.

So please: remember to remember β€” reminding is caring.


Win It in a Minute:

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

video preview​

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

How can fundraisers use the concept of identity-based fundraising to help nurture donors along their generosity journey?

In this new video, Tom Ahern shares the reasons behind his monthly donations to various causes that resonate with him deeply.


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

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

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” The avoidable ways we make fundraising dull and ineffective by Jeff Brooks (a blog post highlighting common fundraising writing mistakes that are typically rooted in fear and overthinking)
    ​
  • Winningly Mistaken β€” It's possible I made a $$$$$$ mistake by Danielle Wallace (an unforgettable 11-minute video analyzing an understandable yet alarming fundraising mistake, its consequences, and efforts at mitigating the damage)​
    ​
  • Snappily Actionable β€” Email 366 (a new, free daily newsletter from Ephraim Gopin about how to send nonprofit emails with tips you can quickly put to use with an investment of "just 30 seconds a day")
    ​
  • Undeniably Resonant β€” The Year of Taylor Swift via The Daily (a 37-minute podcast episode about why Taylor Swift topped entertainment news in 2023 and was chosen as Time's Person of the Year; includes song lyric breakdowns)​
    ​
  • Sociably Rewarding β€” The secret to living longer may be your social life by Susan Pinker (a 16-minute TedTalk that demonstrates the correlative power of nurturing lasting relationships among your family, friends, and colleagues)

Until next time: May you always remember: your donors forget β€” kindly remind them. πŸ€”

Grateful,

PS: In 2024, Brett and I have room for one new client. If that might be you, please schedule a free call to chat about how we might work together.

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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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