Fundraising Letter Reply Devices: Are You Making These Mistakes?

Alan Sharpe
 


Visitors: 164

Fundraising letter reply devices—also known as reply coupons, donation coupons, reply slips, response forms and gift forms—are the instruments that conclude your request for funds. If your reply device doesn’t work, your appeal letter doesn’t work—and you don’t get the gift.

Here are some tips for getting your reply devices right.

General Guidelines

  • Assume the reply device is the only piece in the package your donor will read. This forces you to make a strong case for giving.

  • Ask donors to do as little as possible in returning a gift to you in the mail—make the process as quick and easy as possible.

  • Involve the donor in some way (placing a check mark in a box, answering a survey question or two) that moves them closer to making the gift.

  • Restate why you are asking for funds now—keep selling the idea of making a contribution.

  • Reiterate the benefits the donor receives by making a donation (membership in your organization, for example, or a free book that you will mail upon receiving the gift).

  • Contain an “acceptance statement” written in the voice of the donor (Example: Yes! I’ll help in the fight to end clear cutting in Puget Sound. Here is my gift. Send me your free newsletter. ”

  • Leave lots of room for donors to write.

  • If the reply device is designed to solicit large gifts, don’t call it a reply device. Give it a name that communicates importance and value, such as “Memorandum of Acceptance. ”

  • Include your organization name and address, just in case the reply device and reply envelope get separated.

  • If you are requesting gifts by check, tell the donor who to make the check payable to.

    Mistakes to Avoid

  • Introducing new ideas or taking a new direction

  • Making the donor do too much

  • Leaving insufficient room for donors (particularly elderly donors) to complete the form

  • Using the same reply device for every appeal. Because they are printed several at a time on a sheet of paper, reply devices are inexpensive to produce. So design one for each appeal so that each reply device supports the case for support and appeal for funds in each appeal package

  • Forgetting to include the donor’s unique identification number

  • Printing the letter and reply device on the same sheet of paper. Testing over the years has demonstrated that a separate letter, reply device and reply envelope generate better responses and more gifts than reply devices that must be torn off the bottom of a letter.

  • Designing your reply device so that donors are confused and unsure of what to do to make a donation.

  • Including information on the reply device that donors want to keep but that must be returned with a donation. Print any information that donors will likely want to retain on a perforated portion of the reply device that donors tear off and keep.

    © 2006 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the “About the Author" message).

    -
    About the author
    Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer, instructor and mentor who helps non-profit organizations raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using creative fundraising letters. Learn more about his services, view free sample fundraising letters , and sign up for free weekly tips like this at http://www.RaiserSharpe.com .

  • (641)

    Article Source:


     
    Rate this Article:  0.0/5(0 Ratings)

    Related Articles:

    Donation Thank-You Letter Mistakes To Avoid In Direct Mail Fundraising

    by: Alan Sharpe (April 13, 2006) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    Where to Look for New Donors for Your Fundraising Letter Appeals

    by: Alan Sharpe (August 09, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    A Sample Fundraising Letter You Can Copy

    by: J Carter (February 06, 2007) 
    (Business)

    How To Write The Perfect Fundraising Letter

    by: Jenny Henry (November 05, 2010) 
    (Business/Non Profit)

    Fundraising Letter Envelopes: How To Make Them Irresistible

    by: Alan Sharpe (August 23, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    How to Write a Fundraising Thank-you Letter for Example (Includes a Free Sample)

    by: Alan Sharpe (August 04, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    Need New Direct Mail Donors? Look For These Three Qualities For Fundraising ..

    by: Alan Sharpe (November 25, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    Lapsed Donors: How to Write a Fundraising Letter That Wins Them Back

    by: Alan Sharpe (August 16, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    Fundraising Letter Templates Harm Your Non-Profit's Reputation and Response ..

    by: Alan Sharpe (November 04, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)

    The Fundraising Letter PS: 25 Powerful Things To Say There (Includes Examples ..

    by: Alan Sharpe (August 19, 2005) 
    (Business/Marketing Direct)