Friday, June 12, 2009

"This is the most important letter I have ever written"

You won't beat this for the most powerful piece of copy you can write.

I've just read a pack that was produced for one of our Australian clients last month and this was the first line.

And guess what? It doubled income from the previous year.

Not just because of this line, but it helped. Why else did it work?

- It was honest. "..facing an unprecedented financial crisis which is forcing me and my team to make decisions I never imagined we would face just twelve months ago". It goes on to talk about what that means to beneficiaries.

- It was urgent. "I need your help right now".

- It was data driven. The asks were based on previous giving. Donors were asked for more than ever. "By making your most generous gift ever".

- It was personal. There were 30 uses of the word 'I' and 20 uses of the word 'you' in a four page letter.

- It told a story. A beautiful, compelling story about a child whose life had been touched by their work.

- It was easy to respond. The ask was clear, the vehicle to respond was simple.

Yes, it also mentioned the 'R' word. But there was a reason. They have been significantly hit by falling revenues and therefore in a position where services would be cut if a solution was not found. It was therefore relevant to mention this.

I was reminded about effective copy after reading the latest post on The Agitator this morning.

Writing effective, compelling and successful copy is not that difficult. It requires discipline, honesty and a great story.

Do you have to write the most important letter you have ever written?


2 comments: said...

The author must be familiar with Dan Kennedy.

For phenomenal copy writing technique you can take to the bank, the nonprofit professional would do best by following a top marketer rather than a NPO person.

Jonathon Grapsas said...

Thanks for your comment.

The key things that I have seen time and time again work in fundraising DM copy are: great stories, urgency, deadlines, target amounts, repetition, clear call to action etc..

All things that the example I gave have. I think saying that we should just follow 'marketers' is paying a disservice to many great fundraising copywriters, of which I work with many brilliant ones.