Let’s face it, for most charities tax time is crunch time – it’s when the bulk of your donor dollars are likely to come in the door. It’s also the appeal you’re likely to spend the most time and energy on, so you want to make sure it gets results, right? Here are 7 things that have been tested over the years by the sector and have been shown to work. Try implementing them for your Tax Appeal this year.
|1. Include an AskMight seem basic, but a lot of charities still don’t ask their donors for specific amounts of money. Yet tests have shown time and again that having tailored ask amounts – and lots of them – in your appeal not only boosts income for each appeal, it boosts the overall life-time-value of your donors. Yes, if it’s the first time you’re doing it, you may get a few complaints. But your Tax Appeal is the perfect time to use this tactic because you can emphasise tax-deductibility – and if your case for support is strong enough, people will understand why you’re asking them for a specific amount.
2. Show them the money
A visual representation of a monetary benefit can be surprisingly effective – there’s something about seeing those figures in black and white. So a simple table showing the donor their tax saving can have a significant impact at tax-time.
3. Try a 4pp letter
Tests have shown that in warm mailings, longer (4-6pp) letters still work better than 2pp letters. If you’re sending a premium acquisition pack, however, it appears there’s not enough of a difference to warrant the extra pages.
‘As long as it needs to be’ is the mantra around the sector, and we tend to agree: if you’ve got lots of lovely details about a case study, and how donor support can help, then it makes sense to include that in your letter.
4. Lift your number of lift inclusions
When it comes to lifts, the more the merrier: and tests have shown this over and over again. Anything that supports the story and the reason for giving – a letter from a mum, a drawing from a child, a brain scan, a report from the field – don’t be afraid to go to town. More lifts mean people are more likely to open your letter, and spend more time with your appeal. And at such a competitive time of year, that can only be a good thing.
5. Send a Thank You letter
We know that thanking donors is one of the best ways to ensure they give again. In any case, it’s just good manners. Ideally, you want your Thank You letter to relate back to the appeal they just gave to – so make sure it’s tailored, not a pro-forma with two paragraphs and a receipt at the bottom. Put some time and effort into it. It won’t boost your income this time around, but it will set you up well for the next appeal, and the one after that.
6. Talk about one person
One story good – two stories better, right? Wrong. Time and again we’ve heard this – and seen it proven: stick to a compelling story of need about an individual. It will trump siblings, families, communities, populations every time. Ditto statistics and any big numbers. Avoid them like the plague.
7. Make it easy
How easy is it for your donors to make a donation? For maximum results, you should include a separate A4 response coupon, pre-filled as much as possible, and a reply-paid envelope. If you’re running an online campaign, make sure all links work, and any buttons that say ‘Donate’ go straight to the donation form. Ideally, you want to have a dedicated landing page for your Tax Appeal that has the same look and feel as the overall campaign, with the form right there for ease of access. As soon as people have to look around your site for the donation form, or click through too many pages, or sign up or put in a donor number, you risk losing them. And none of us can afford to do that, especially at tax time.
Good luck with your 2015 Tax Appeal – if you have any questions or need any help, call Naomi on 0459 348 182 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d be more than happy to have a chat.
The Copy Collective is a collective of Australian, New Zealand and other international copywriters whose versatile copywriting skills range from fundraising, marketing and online copywriting to corporate and government writing, feature and speech writing, as well as editing and so much more.