chapter 13 What Successful Mass Appeals Have in Common

Although many people find it anxiety-provoking to ask someone for money in person for reasons we have discussed earlier, there is one important way in which asking one person for money is much easier than any other strategy: all you have to do is ascertain whether that one person is interested in your cause, and find out (usually by your knowledge of that person or by asking questions) what he would need to know in order to consider making a gift. This is far different from trying to ascertain whether some hundreds or thousands of people are interested in your cause and then what all of them would probably want to know. But because it is unwieldy and, for the most part, unrealistic, to build an organization one donor conversation at a time, sending the same appeal to hundreds or thousands of people at once is what we have to do. Fortunately, there is a science to mass appeals and there are a variety of ways to appeal to a large number of people at once.

First, keep in mind that the success rate with direct mail, e-mail, social media, and even phoning is very low. The response to direct mail and e-mail appeals hovers around .5 to 1 percent when appealing to new donors and between 5 to 30 percent when appealing to donors who have given before. Phoning a “hot” list (see below) may yield a 5 percent response, and there are ways to boost that, but not past 30 percent. Most people who give once do not give again. The number of ...

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