Happy New Year from all of us at GuideStar! We hope that 2013 is happy, healthy, and prosperous for you and yours. The GuideStar Blog took a brief hiatus but now we’re back to business. As we continue to shape our content, we hope to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions or would care to submit a blog post. Cheers!
Below is a follow-up by Gail Perry and Andrea Kihlstedt to a handful of questions submitted by participants during the December 6, 2012, webinar “Awash in Money: How to Compete with Billion-Dollar Elections and Hurricanes This Year-End.” To view the presentation or listen to the recording of the webinar, please click here.
Question: Is asking in person better with renewal or acquisition?
Answer: Asking in person is the most effective way to raise money – whether it is for a renewal or a new donor. But because face to face meetings take so much time and effort and energy, you’ve got to focus your attention where it is most likely to pay off.
We would encourage you to concentrate on people who have already given because your chances of success are greater. Often, there is far more opportunity right under your nose than you might imagine, so start there!
Question: Once you know your Asking Style, what’s the next step?
Knowing your Asking Style really is the first step in the process of asking. When you understand and are comfortable with the ways in which you function best, you should design your asking process accordingly.
Some people need lots of prep time and a script before going out to ask someone for a gift. Others do much better in the moment and are hampered by a script. To learn more about Asking Styles, see Andrea’s new book, Asking Styles: Harness Your Personal Fundraising Power, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble now.
Question: What’s the average font to use to communicate with the boomers
As boomers, we can say that we prefer 14 point type, short paragraphs and a good amount of space between lines. Our eyes–and those of everyone our age we know–simply don’t like small, dense paragraphs. Not sure younger people do either! 12 point font is the absolutely smallest size you should use with any donor. You’ve got to make your appeal easy to read and understand!
Question: What are the differences between writing printed appeal letters and email appeals especially considering that there is some overlap in recipients.
Gail: Both of these media are important. You’ll get the best results when you use both – and each has the same message and visual. Email appeals by necessity must have fewer words and tons of white space. You can go into more depth in a letter. Email must be pretty simplistic.
However, email can use images for major impact. Recent studies show that images stay with the donor much longer than your words.
Andrea: Though direct mail folks might disagree with me, I don’t think many appeal letters get read these days. So be sure you say whatever you want to say in the first paragraph or the headings so it’s easy to scan.
But for your email appeals you now have the option of including videos and visuals that tell your story in a more powerful and effective way than words ever could. Use them!