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ChangeStar publishes ’10 ways to screw up a fundraising appeal’ guide

ChangeStar publishes ’10 ways to screw up a fundraising appeal’ guide

Fundraising and social change agency ChangeStar has published a list of ten ways in which a fundraising appeal can be ‘screwed up’.

It’s a simple one-page document, but could prove a useful set of reminders if pinned next to your desk.

At the top of the list is  how ‘ignoring the basics’ can ruin the effectiveness of an appeal.

“The joy of direct response fundraising is that it is a science, and has basic techniques that have proved to be effective – like those outlined by Drayton Bird in his book ‘Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing’. Don’t ignore them.”

Number four is to avoid building an appeal ‘by committee’. Collaboration is good, but not when it stifles the effectiveness of a fundraising appeal.

Instead, ChangeStar advise charities to:

“Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with a fundraising pack and trust evidence of what works – not occasional people in the organisation who ‘wouldn’t open that’.”

The guide has been written by ChangeStar director Richard Docwra. He said:

“While the title of the guide is obviously tongue-in-cheek, these ten pointers from ChangeStar could be genuinely useful for direct marketing fundraisers. There are many pressures on fundraising managers to please everyone internally in their charities, but ultimately a fundraising appeal must attract a good level of income and there are proven techniques of what to do – and what not to do – to achieve this.”

The wrong kind of focus crops up in two of the 10 mistakes. For example, ChangeStar advise charities against talking in generalisations, and including information about all of the organisation’s work. Their strong recommendation is to:

“Focus the appeal down into a specific, tangible issue, need and beneficiary affected by the need.”

You can download 10 ways to screw up a fundraising appeal from ChangeStar. 

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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