Tuto­r­i­al 6: the pow­er of a letter.

To be suc­cess­ful in this busi­ness, you have to recog­nise the pow­er of a letter.

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
February 23, 2019

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? Unfortunately, it has been pushed into the background and, in some organisations, there’s even a faint (or worse) disdain for fundraising letters.

The mail package is considered a necessary evil. Letters are somewhat embarrassing to the board of directors. They feel that the act of asking for money in a letter is not dignified. In many organisations, the not-so-secret desire of top executives is to find another way to raise money and get out of direct mail altogether.

A letter is powerful. It’s a personal message from me to you. A letter is not an advertisement for all to see. It isn’t a news release for the general public. It’s personal.

And because it is so personal, it plays a strange magical function in our society and – as we have already discussed – mail opening is a major event in most households.

The secret of creating a successful fundraising letter, or any marketing letter, is to transfer that ‘one-to-one’ factor to a mass audience and still retain the intimacy of the personal letter.

© SOFII Foundation 2010-2014.

About the author: 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.

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