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

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.

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
February 16, 2019

And it’s both your first and final chance to motivate the donor to take action. Short lines and short paragraphs characterise a good PS. But don’t be afraid to use several paragraphs, as the occasion demands.

Following are 15 suggestions for writing the PS

  1. Tell the reader exactly what to do, when to do it, how much to give and how to use the reply devices.

    PS Enclosed is your World Hunger Day reply card. Please check the $10 gift box and fill in the blank line if you wish to give an additional amount. Then, mail the reply card back to me – before 20 March – in the postage-paid envelope I am providing for you. And thanks so much.

  2. Ask for immediate action.

    PS Can you send your gift today, Mrs. Jones? Every hour’s delay means a longer line at the bush clinic. I must send another doctor and nurse immediately. Perhaps you can sit down this very moment and write your cheque, and then mail it to me in the envelope I am enclosing. Thanks so much.

  3. Try announcing a deadline.

    PS School starts on the 6th September. Can I depend on your help in time to buy a dress for a little girl?

  4. Limited supply.

    PS I only have a limited supply of the health manual available. First come, first served!
    Please write me today so you won’t be disappointed.

  5. Limited audience.

    PS This appeal is only going to individuals like you who have a unique respect for our National Gallery. That’s why I must depend on your immediate response.

  6. No strings attached.

    PS This inspiring booklet is yours, with no strings attached, in appreciation for your gift of $10 or more.

  7. Instalment payment.

    PS Perhaps you cannot give $100 right now -- but can you send $25 a month for four months? Your continued support will be such a blessing.

    Other ways you can use the PS include:

  8. Restatement of the letter headline.
  9. Restatement of the offer.
  10. Restatement of the premium.
  11. Restatement of how to use the reply devices.
  12. Restatement of the crisis

    Here are a few more:

  13. Testimonial feature.

    PS I must replenish the scholarship fund immediately. Right now a young woman is waiting ... she writes, ‘I am working day and night in order to have an education. But I can’t pay the tuition.’

  14. Present an additional argument.

    PS I almost forgot to mention – if the building contractor can begin work immediately, we will save approximately nine per cent because of the anticipated rise in the cost of steel. Therefore – your immediate gift will serve a double purpose!

  15. And when all else fails, try a handwritten PS.

    PS What more can I say? This problem is desperate – more desperate than you can imagine, unless you were to join me here at the hospital in Bogotá.

Regardless of how you use your PS, never fail to ask for action. This is what a fundraising letter is all about.

One final review: tell your reader exactly what you want her to do. Don’t take anything for granted, spell it out. This serves a dual purpose:

a) You will resolve any questions that may be hanging concerning the reply mechanics.
b) You will get the person to start thinking about taking action.

This serves to overcome inertia.

© SOFII Foundation 2010-2014.

About the author: Jerry Huntsinger

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 a 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.jpg#asset:8990:urlGwen 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. She explains the importance to these tutorials here.

Related case studies or articles

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

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 6: the power of a letter.

To be successful in this business, you have to recognise the power of a letter. Why? Because there are now so many people in fundraising who understand computers, finance, business management, or work flow systems. All of these skills are basic to competent fundraising organisations. But what’s happened to the letter?

Read more

Tutorial 3: what makes a successful letter-writer?

A successful letter-writer must overcome human inertia by putting words on paper. A tough job. Good letter-writers are extremely rare, but here’s how you can spot one.

Read more

Tutorial 1: creating fundraising letters and packages

The purpose of these tutorials is to stimulate your thinking. Challenge your preconceived notions. Stimulate your appetite for testing a new idea.

Read more

Also in Categories