"Let's Talk Nonprofit" is a blog by Third Sector Consulting that addresses common questions that nonprofits have. Questions about fundraising. Questions about boards. Questions about what's going on in the nonprofit sector today. Ready? Let's Talk Nonprofit.

AppealsLet's Talk Nonprofit Blog RSS Feed

3 Must-Haves in Every Appeal Letter
Nonprofits want to hear more donors say "Yes!" (Yes? Yes!) So why do so many nonprofits miss the mark in their fundraising letters? Before you send your next appeal letter to the printer, take a minute to see if you can say "yes" to these three simple questions. You'd be surprised at how many fundraisers can't say their letters do these three things. (read more)

From Good to Great - Better Fundraising Offers
Have you heard of the 40-40-20 rule? It has HUGE implications for your fundraising success. For years, direct mail marketers and advertisers have followed this cardinal rule. The "40-40-20 rule" states that the success of any campaign ultimately depends on these three factors: 40% on the audience, 40% on the offer, and 20% on the creative. This post will show you how to turn a good fundraising offer into a great one. (read more)

What Nonprofits Can Learn from The Godfather
Even if you've never seen "The Godfather," you probably know its most famous line. Marlon Brando, as Don Corleone, utters "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." Take away the sinister tone, and you have a brilliant piece of fundraising advice. Your "offer" is a key part of any successful fundraising appeal. Yet far too many nonprofits fail to make any sort of offer at all. This post explores "offers," what they are, and how to use them in your next fundraising appeal. (read more)

3 Things You Don't Want to Do In Your Year-End Fundraising Appeal
It's almost time. The time of year when your donors' mailboxes are filled with year-end fundraising appeals. If you haven't gotten your year-end appeal out the door yet, be sure to take a few minutes right now and read this post. Instead of things to do, you'll find three things you don't want to do. (This post was inspired by Steven Screen and The Better Fundraising Co.) (read more)

5 Little Things That Will Make a Big Difference in Your Next Fundraising Appeal
Here's a little fundraising inspiration from the football field. Bear Bryant, legendary coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, once said, "Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things." That's true for your fundraising appeal, too. Yes, there are best practices in letter writing - those are the big things. This post shares 5 simple "little things" you can do to make your next fundraising letter stand out. (read more)

4 Ways to Raise More Money The 'Right' Ways
There's a saying in fundraising: You'll raise more money when the right person asks the right prospect for the right amount at the right time. While that's true for major donors and capital campaigns, it's also true for your general donors and your annual fund as well. This post explains 4 "right" ways to make sure you're writing a terrific fundraising letter, every day. You'll learn how to write a better fundraising letter for your year-end campaign - and any campaign, any time of year. (read more)

Is Your Writing Too Long, Too Short, or Just Right
Twitter recently increased the number of characters per tweet from 140 to 280. Just because you can say more, should you? The same question holds true for grants. If you're writing an online application and the response allows 300 words, do you need to use all 300 words? If it's a paper application, and you're allowed 5 pages, do you need to fill every page? And what about your donor appeals? What's the right length of the fundraising materials you write for your nonprofit? (read more)

Storytelling Differences Grants vs Donor Appeals
All stories are not the same. In fact, your stories should be different - very different - depending on your audience. Data may tell, but it's your stories that sell. Your grant proposals will include lots of data, but your direct appeals to individual donors won't. So what kinds of stories should you tell, especially in your year-end donor appeals? (read more)

What Donors Do After A Disaster
After a disaster, people want to help. And donors to the relief efforts are very likely donors to other organizations - including yours. If you're not a relief organization, are you worried how Harvey (and now Irma) may impact your donations? Are you concerned about donor fatigue? That donors will be overasked and overcommitted by the end of the year? (read more)