Last week, I shared what’s on my to-do list of year-end fundraising appeals. Although December is still a few months away, now is the time to make your work plan. One of the items that I like to think about in September is the theme and messaging for the appeal.
The theme and messaging are important items to begin with because they will determine many aspects of your appeal like your story and the visuals. By deciding on these foundational pieces first, you will make the whole process of creating and designing the appeal so much easier. Today, I want to share a few extra tips to help you determine your theme and messaging.
Tips #1 What do you want to raise money for?
Chances are, you probably have a specific ask in mind. Maybe it’s one of your fundraising priorities, or a special project. Decide on something specific. Donors like to know exactly where their money will go and what impact it will have. Avoid making a general ask.
Tip #2 Once you’ve decided on the ask, what is the one thing you want donors to remember about it?
This is how you start to get to your root message. A message is a key idea that you want get convey to your audience. I like to start with the question of – what do I want people to remember after they have read the appeal? You might go through a brainstorming process for this. You might also have more than one message. If you do decide that there are multiple important points that you want to convey, I would encourage you to prioritize the points and still aim to be concise.
Tip #3 Create your call to action
Your message and call to action play supporting roles in your appeal. Your call to action will be one of the last things your donors read before getting to the end of the appeal, so you want to make sure that it reiterates your message. Before you start writing, reverse engineer your appeal and create your call to action.
Once you’ve worked through these three tips, you’ll be well set to start writing your appeal.