Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Out of Office - tips for next appeal

Anyone who emailed me whilst I was in the USA at the AFP Conference and a few other meetings would have got this out of office.
I received quite a few follow ups from people who liked it and found it useful so I am posting it in full.  Hopefully it will inspire you to think about how you could use your out of office....
*Please read – this is not an ordinary out of office! Though please note I am back 19 April*
(Well, the next three paragraphs are normal-ish, but the ones below that are more interesting).
Thank you for your email.  I am presenting at the AFP (fundraising) conference in USA, then some consulting and training over there and back to Australia to a series of data benchmarking presentations; should be getting to email in earnest again on the 19th April.
If you need a response before that and are a client, please contact
If you would like to be a client, maybe or definitely, or you want me to speak at your event, please contact
If you really need me SMS me on +61 437 015 333 but try not to wake me in the middle of the night.
OK – now the more interesting stuff…
I can’t go without mentioning books.  I hope that by now that you have read my mini-novel, Haruki the Knife Maker – it is only 99c, in aid of Amnesty, and available in all e-book stores, and only takes 20 minutes to read.
But I also write fundraising stuff too – including a chapter in a new book Global Fundraising: How the World is Changing the Rules of Philanthropy edited by Bernard Ross and Penelope Cagney.  You can get that in p-book form on Amazon.
Now, for you fundraisers – some great tips for your next appeal…
·    Personalise.  Dear Sean is good, but go beyond.  Thank me for my specific actions and give me credit for everything you achieved.
·    Tell me a beautiful story, with a beginning, a middle and an end –and don’t leave me feeling it is now fixed.  There must be a need at the end.
·    Don’t worry about how long it takes to tell me that story AND the points below:
·    Make sure there are frequent and very specific asks, like the examples in the presentation.  The specific ask should be the right amount for me, not a generic ask amount.
·    Take personal responsibility.  Write the letter in first person singular.  Don’t we on your copy.   Remove every ‘we’ replace with ‘you’, ‘my colleagues and I’ or whatever makes sense. 
·    Repeat the specific ask
·    Have a deadline.  This is very important.  Find a reason, overcome barriers but get one. 
·    Every. Single. Time.
·    Repeat the specific ask
·    Build urgency
·    Repeat the specific ask
·    Witness the story (ie “I spoke to Bob today and he said…”)
·    Repeat the specific ask
·    Have a target
·    Repeat the specific ask
·    Summarise in a PS
·    Repeat the specific ask
·    SHOW me the need; not all nice fixed stuff – there has to be something that would be bad if I didn’t give.
·    Repeat the specific ask in the PS, and spell it out – fill in the form with your details, put in the envelope and send to me by…
Don’t worry about the length of the letter, as long as it is good, engaging and emotional.  It is hard to get everything in without using at least 3.5 pages of A4 (including shorter first page with all the header stuff) in point 12 serif font.

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