In February and March of 2011, www.FutureFundraisingNow.com had a several blog posts on how to improve your fundraising mailings. Here are a few of their ideas that got my attention.
Make your brochure authentic rather than slick. A slick brochure is all about the designer that created the piece. Most brochures are pretty slick, and therefore do not stand out from the crowd. A homely brochure that seems more authentic is more likely to get attention and deliver a compelling message that sounds sincere.
Ask the reader to support a modest cause. If your literature infers that you are tackling a huge problem, you are, in effect, telling the reader that their contribution will be a pretty insignificant part of what you are trying to do. People give because problems are solvable and that their donation can make a difference. Try to show the reader how their individual donation can solve a real problem and make an important difference.
Have a simple message and use repetition. Complex rationales are the sign of a professional writer try to be professional and profound. It does not feel particularly authentic. Also, a reader that is skimming your copy (which is most likely) will probably miss the point if you have to read everything pretty carefully in order to get your message.
Make it emotional. Most people give because it makes them feel good to do so. Fill your authentic brochure with drama and stories that tap into peoples’ hearts. Put less weight on rationales that convince the mind. Use stories that make the reader uncomfortable with existing conditions so that they act and give in order to make things right.