Last week I talked about testing.
We often at Pareto Fundraising test letter length. Time and time again, the same result occurs - a longer letter beats a shorter letter.
Jeff Brooks wrote about this topic today at DonorPowerBlog. And as we have come to expect he is spot on, again.
I often joke that if I had a dollar for every time someone had said to me (in response to perusing a long, say 4 page letter), "I wouldn't read this", well I would be a lot wealthier than I am right now.
But why do longer letters work? Surely it is counter intuitive?
Yes it is. But they regularly out pull shorter letters because you need a longer letter (usually around 4 pages) to tell a compelling story, use case studies to illustrate, repeat personalized ask amounts, tell the reader how much you need, how and by when.
Let's face it: we like to be told what to do and how, whether we like it or not. Well certainly when it comes to direct response fundraising.
Making it easy by telling the donor what we want them to do, how we want them to do it and by when takes some time to do properly.
Hence why long still beats short.
Of course with anything, if you're unsure, test it. Although referring to my earlier posting, I wonder if this is one worth really bothering about.
It's been tested to death and the results are invariably (regardless of which agency or charity you speak to), the same. There are few exceptions. And when I have seen exceptions, the copy is usually crap.
So keep fighting hard for the long letters. They will continue to help more benefactors. And that's what it's all about.