Five Maples’ Fundraising Blog

Wish your first-time donor renewal rates were higher? Part 3: Press send.

In this series of posts, founded upon the premise that first time donor renewal is critical for improving your organization’s long-term fundraising success, I’ve addressed the importance of thanking your donors. I provided suggestions for sending a strong thank you letter through the mail as first in a series of thank yous, plural. I shared […]

Neuroscience reveals why direct mail raises more money than digital.

Our clients (except Bernie Sanders, but that’s another story) find that direct mail fundraising outperforms digital fundraising by ten times or more. Why won’t donors respond to digital solicitations? Don’t they know it’s easier and less expensive to send an email than a letter? Guess what: consumers are no different. Check out the results of […]

Wish your first-time donor renewal rates were higher? Part 2: Pick up the phone

In the first post of this series, I shared a strategy for sending out an effective thank you letter. Too many organizations stop there. Remember, I spoke of your thank you letter as the first in a series of thank yous, plural. So, the thank you letter is in the mail. What next? Pick up […]

Wish your first-time donor renewal rates were higher? Part 1: Write a better thank you letter

Our research consistently finds that donors consider most thank you letters they get to be boring, cold and largely focused on telling donors how great the not-for-profit is that they just supported. We also find that donors consider thank you letters to be the single most important communication they ever receive. —Penelope Burk   How does […]

Above $1000: How to handle ask strings for major donors

We’ve previously shown how donors prefer round numbers. The pattern holds true for donations above $1,000. The following chart of 2509 donations above $1,000, compiled from annual fund results from multiple organizations, shows how much round numbers are preferred. Our Recommended Ask String Table uses these round numbers. Major donors have the biggest influence on […]

How to upgrade your response card to put monthly giving to work for your non-profit

Experienced annual fund managers say that when you convince donors to give using monthly credit card or bank drafts, their annual renewals are higher. Membership organizations agree with that. Personally, I’ve had one charitable bank draft going for 30 years…it takes initiative to cancel it, and you feel guilty if you do! There are many […]

Two powerful reasons why I’ll never stop giving to Compassion International and how those reasons could work for your non-profit

Compassion International provides monthly support to children to release them from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries. Thirty years ago my wife and I got a direct mail solicitation that was compelling enough to get us started with our first donation. And since then we’ve […]

Meet the editor who will evaluate the readability of your fundraising letter in 6 seconds – for free.

I bet you didn’t know that Microsoft Word will automatically calculate the readability and grade level of your fundraising letter. Or annual report. Or newsletter. I didn’t either, until I got Tom Ahern’s recent e-newsletter in my in-box. (I’d point you to it, but it doesn’t seem to be posted on his web site yet). […]

Want the most effective fundraising letter possible? Use this best practice checklist.

Download the Five Maples Better Letter Checklist! Is it clear what problem the organization is addressing and how a gift will help solve that problem? Is the letter from one person to another? Not from a committee? Engaging? Personal, even chatty style? Creates a bond; uses “you” and “I”? Appeals to emotions via narrative? Uses […]

Planned giving language for your response card that works

Most organizations add a planned giving check box to their response card. It often reads like this: I would like information concerning: Including {Your Organization} in my will Other planned gift opportunities It’s rare that someone checks either of these boxes. So, why include it at all? Ironically, donors say the number one reason they […]