This week, I will spend most of my time hand signing an appeal letter. This appeal is being sent to approximately 1200 people and we are asking them to fund our summer activities. This may seem like a waste of time and I am sure many other fundraisers will not agree with me that this is time well spent. However, if we are willing to ask people to part with their hard-earned cash, shouldn’t they feel like we care about them as an individual? Shouldn’t they feel like we care enough to actually write TO THEM rather than reel off a generic ask letter which has ‘Dear Friend’ at the top and is signed off with a pixelated signature that has been used and re-used for years?
I started signing ask letters last year and the return from these appeals compared with ones that were not personalised was 15% higher. There may be other factors at play; maybe it was a much more compelling ask, maybe the letters arrived at just the right time of the month where people have slightly higher amounts of expendable cash and MAYBE, people liked that their letter was personalised.
I strongly believe that donors should be treated as people, not as ATMs. So, if you wouldn’t ask a friend for cash without speaking to them personally, why would you do it to a donor?
What are your experiences with personalised ask letters? Do you see the benefit or do you think time could be better spent doing other things? Let me know your thoughts!