One of the questions Tom Ahern always asks during our Direct Mail for Small Nonprofits E-Clinic is, “Are you treating your donors like your organization’s superhero?”

He’s not just talking about being grateful for their gift. He’s talking about shifting the responsibility of your cause onto the donor’s shoulders. The donor is the answer to your problem.

Your direct mail appeal letter needs to reflect that.

Tom says this about appeal letters,

“Your appeal is not about how wonderful your organization is. It’s about how wonderful the donor is. Put yourself in the shoes (or eyes and ears) of the person receiving the letter. Do you, the reader, see clearly how important you are to making something good happen? ‘Donor love’ is not just about adoring the people who trust you with their hard-earned money. It’s also about connecting their philanthropy to achieving something important in the community.”

During the direct mail e-clinic, Tom shares his direct mail secrets to success. Two of those secrets are make your donors the solution to some local problem and get them into a fight.

Think about your typical superhero movie:

  1. Hero realizes he (or she) has a unique ability.
  2. Hero decides to use that ability for the good of his community.
  3. Hero fights the bad guy (or girl).
  4. Hero saves the day.

This is your donor! But too many nonprofits play the hero in their communications appeals when they need to put their donors in that role.

Of course you, as a nonprofit, are a superhero too – just ask your clients. (Don’t think for a second we are diminishing your sacrifices, contributions, and commitments.)

But you need to remember the importance of your donors to your success. And that needs to be the focus of your appeals. Why do superheros keep on going? Because they know something bad will happen if they stop. Making your donors the superheroes for your organization helps them understand they need to keep helping your cause, keep fighting the bad guys, and keep making the world a better place.

For more secrets to direct mail success, join Tom and I for the August session of Direct Mail for Small Nonprofits E-Clinic. The e-clinic begins on August 14th and continues til August 22nd. Each training and coaching session will be recorded so even if you can’t make an event live, you will still receive the benefit of Tom’s training.

Learn more and register here.

(All-Access Pass Holders, you save $100 off the registration fee for this e-clinic. Please see your All-Access Pass Dashboard for the special coupon code to enter at checkout. Not a Pass Holder? Sign up to get all of our weekly webinar series and e-books, plus discounts on e-clinics).

Photo from BigStock

Published On: July 24, 2012|Categories: Fundraising, Writing Skills and Content|