The Six Magic Questions

October 1, 2013

In fundraising today, we’re often overwhelmed by the communications choices facing us. There are now so many channels available to reach out to donors and prospects, the menu can be dizzying.

My fellow Good Workers and I have learned (through trial and error) that communicating in a multi-channel world isn’t actually as difficult as it seems. Yes, you need to write an email appeal differently from direct mail – and a website piece is different than something you’d put in your 8-page newsletter.

In our experience, charities have the most success when the overall message is highly consistent – yet the crafting of that message is tailored to fit the channel in question. (It takes a lot of practice to do this, but it can be done!)

Having said that, here’s a simple way to go about creating your content – whatever your medium might be. Simply answer the following six questions that are probably going through your donor’s or prospect’s mind as she’s looking at your stuff:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What’s the solution to the problem?
  3. Why is your charity best able to provide the solution to the problem?
  4. Where will my money actually go?
  5. What will my money actually accomplish?
  6. What else can I do (besides donate) to help solve the problem?

You can use this format to write a four-page direct mail appeal – or a 200 word website update. And yes, while you can’t say all this on Twitter, you can tweet and direct readers to a place on your website where the six answers can be found.

So, give it a try. Identify a need that your organization wants to satisfy – and then craft that message several ways by simply answering the six questions. And do let me know how it goes!

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Fraser Green

Fraser Green

Former political campaigner and current fundraising strategist with a knack for understanding how audiences will react to messages.