How to boost fundraising using clever copy for surprising results

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Written By Anna Shere

Meet Jenni Anderson and Laura Golland, two rock stars in the NZ charity sector. These two tireless troupers spend their days juggling everything from donor communications to a broad range of fundraising endeavours. Wearing multiple hats they work to promote and fund the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand’s core services throughout the country. Together, they are spreading a life-saving message of stroke recognition and prevention with one hand while whipping up appeals and campaigns with the other. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Pictures od Jenni Anderson and Laura Golland
Laura Golland (Left) and Jenni Anderson (Right)

A little experiment

While working on the fundamentals of their roles, Jenni and Laura are always pondering new and different ways to enhance their efforts in the hope of making an even bigger difference.

When planning this year’s Spring DM Appeal they wondered about the benefits of sandwiching a little eDM either side of their direct mail in the hope of boosting response rates. It sounded like a good plan. But not having tried this before Jenni and Laura wanted to be sure they had the time and resources available to ensure their eDM experiment was top notch. The key here was to work smarter not harder.

To help test the concept, the team at The Copy Collective worked with Jenni and Laura to develop their eDM content, calling on our dedicated fundraising writers to piece the project together. We focused on everything from the appropriateness of the subject line to creative, personalised and valid content in a style that would appeal to the reader and finished with a clear and direct call to action. We wanted to do Jenni and Laura proud.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

As this was an experiment, the results were all-important. The benefits of the eDM sandwiching around the Spring DM Appeal speak for themselves. It has been a very successful campaign boasting over 200 new regular givers and a healthy 7.7% response rate across all giving. Not bad considering the campaign is still running!

Jenni and Laura were especially thrilled with the 38% opening rate on their pre-appeal eDM. Apparently recipients didn’t mind hearing from them again a couple of weeks later with a post-appeal follow-up and donation ask opening at 34%.

So it’s a happy ending all round and time for a little reflection on our learning journey.

Jenni and Laura’s top tips:

  1. Spend time and energy on the things that you do best.
  2. Recognise that the effort you put into your message will likely influence what you get out at the other end – quality copy developed by experts. Although this may incur a short-term cost, your return should be significantly measurable.
  3. A written video script resulted in a stilted recording when video participants presented their sound bites on camera. To help maintain a natural flow, Jenni and Laura broke up the scripts into key points/ideas that the participants could put in their own words, resulting in the ‘e-chats’ sounding more normal and friendly.

Why not take a leaf out of Jenni and Laura’s book? Give it a go! eDM can be an engaging, spur of the moment way to connect with your audience that should be developed with precision and care to ensure it doesn’t head straight to the email trash.