Escaping the glow and writing appeals

March Break is a quiet time in the advancement office at my institution — the students are away, the faculty members are enjoying a well-deserved rest, and even some of my colleagues have taken the week off for a personal holiday.  In fact, at this particular moment, I am alone in the office.  For some it might feel eerie or an excuse to nod off, but for me it means the perfect time for brainstorming and letter-writing.  Specifically, an Annual Giving appeal to young alumni.

It’s not often that we sit down to do a task that doesn’t involve our computers.  That being said, I’m sure many people write solicitation letters exclusively on their computers.  For me, it’s an opportunity to take a break from the glowing screen, pull out a legal pad, and get to writing.  The photo above is what my desk usually looks like when I’m writing: a good inky pen, a red ballpoint for revision, a print-out of last year’s appeal, and a first draft of this year’s.  I spend time writing out potential “headlines” for the letter.  I spend time reading over last year’s letter to make sure this year’s holds on to only a few elements (if any) but aims to be noticeably fresh and new.

I brainstorm some outside-of-the-box ideas to make this letter stand out.  With young alumni in particular, what could grab their attention?  Will a creative approach spur them on to make their first gift?  Is it ease & convenience they look for?  Is it a worthwhile designation?

What do you think???  How do you approach letter writing?  What are your favourite tips/tricks to get in the zone?  What about encouraging young alumni giving?  What are your success stories?  What have you learned?

 

Written by Maeve Strathy

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Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years.  Click here to learn more about Maeve.

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One thought on “Escaping the glow and writing appeals

  1. Pingback: Why I love what I do: reason #2 | What Gives???

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