Jerry Huntsinger tutorials

This special showcase within the direct mail section of SOFII comprises a complete series of tutorials from the dean of direct mail fundraising, the USA’s legendary Jerry Huntsinger. In 86 parts this insightful, practical series is building, over time, into the complete step-by-step guide to direct mail fundraising.

Tutorial 19: master grammar and write for action.

by Jerry Huntsinger

As a writer, you need to understand the basic parts of speech – verbs, nouns, objects, adjectives, adverbs, articles, and so on. But you don’t have to worry about the structure of a sentence. Just remember that every sentence usually has a subject, a verb and an object. ‘The house is red’: article, subject, verb, object.

Read more

Tutorial 18: magic words: the formula for success.

by Jerry Huntsinger

What do Shakespeare, the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and a successful fundraising letter have in common? Magic words. And what makes certain words magic? Their length. Any common word of five letters or less is magic. Therein lies a formula for success.

Read more

Tutorial 17: write the way you speak: 10 suggestions.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Psycho-copy is not crazy copy. I’m not always sure how to communicate the deeper levels of a ‘warm and personal’ style to letter writers. Perhaps it has to be caught, rather than taught.

Read more

Tutorial 16: how to write in a warm personal style.

by Jerry Huntsinger

A professional writer knows that a letter must have more than technical exactness. Personality has to radiate through the words. But what kind of personality?

Read more

Tutorial 15: creating a chemical reaction.

by Jerry Huntsinger

When you put a letter, a reply card, a reply envelope and an enclosure in a carrier envelope, you are mixing together five separate elements. But suddenly, when they are all in the package, you no longer have five separate items. Instead you have a chemical reaction.

Read more

Tutorial 14: how to communicate with photographs.

by Jerry Huntsinger

If ‘a picture is worth a thousands words’ why do nonprofits persist in creating appeals with 2,000 words, or more, with no pictures?

Read more

Tutorial 13: the PS: how to have the final word.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Your PS is a vital selling tool – just as important as the headline. In fact, the PS is often the first and last words your donors read! Why? Human nature, I guess. A postscript arouses curiosity. It’s irresistible.

Read more

Tutorial 12: principles of layout.

by Jerry Huntsinger

There are four critical principles: space importance, eye movement, right dominance, and horizontal and vertical lines.

Read more

Tutorial 11: how to design a fundraising letter: the function of design.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Letters are not supposed to be pretty or attractive, or large or small, or long or short, or colourful or stylish... they are supposed to be read. That’s all.

Read more

Tutorial 10: Pavlov’s dog and fundraising letters.

by Jerry Huntsinger

It was an experiment that the Humane Society might object to these days. A group of psychologists, including Nobel prize-winner Ivan Pavlov, took a dog and put him in a cage, rang a bell and gave him something to eat. Then they fooled the poor animal by ringing the bell, but not giving him anything to eat. So what did he do?

Read more

Major contributors to this section

Jerry Huntsinger

Jerry Huntsinger is revered in direct marketing circles as the dean of direct mail. 

Some years back Jerry gifted his archive of direct mail tutorials to SOFII and we’ve been serialising them ever since. All 50-plus are gems. Together, they add up to complete ‘how-to’ guide to everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising.

These tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa.

See all

Gwen Chapman

The Jerry Huntsinger Tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa.

See all