Not Them or Me, But How About Both of Us

The letter is nestled in your mailbox. The email soldiered past every spam blocker and stands proudly in your Yahoo account.

It’s an appeal from a nonprofit organization that’s pegged you as someone who cares mightily about protecting animals. And care you do. You already volunteer at your local humane shelter and give to the Humane Society.

Dog is your co-pilot. You would foster ferrets if you could.

But it’s a compelling package. You’re intrigued. You decide to open it.

You begin reading some of the most gripping, edge-of-your-chair copy you’ve ever read. Your heart leaps, you feel inspired. “I want to send these good people my support!” you cry.

But wait. You already send your money to those other organizations that do roughly the same thing. Is this really a good idea?

And here is where the brilliance of the letter reveals itself …

I came across the following strategy recently in an appeal for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and had one of those, “of course – why not!” moments.

They get that the folks receiving their acquisition packages already support other causes that protect animals. So they don’t ask their potential new donors to choose, or get into a why-we’re-better-than-those-guys-game.

Instead, they say, hey, it’s great that you care so much. But we think you should know a little about how we’re different and consider adding us to the list of causes you support.

The letter goes on to list very specific achievements EDF has made. Huge victories that a local shelter or small grassroots organization simply couldn’t tackle.

Smart, friendly, confident, passionate and specific. That’s how you get prospective new donors to feel good about your organization and become advocates for your cause.