A recently completed five-year study provides some useful learning for those who construct written fundraising appeals.
According to Subroto Roy, Professor of Marketing at the University of New Haven and as released in INFORMS Journal of Marketing Science:
donations will go up if the beneficiary:
- was a named individual compared to an un-named group
- belonged to the same religion as the donor
- fell into poverty versus being described as poor with an undescribed past
- if the annual donation was framed in monthly versus daily amounts
When a direct mail appeal used all of these tactics, there was a 300% increase in donations (test market size was 300,000 with 200,000 cold calls and 100,000 past donors)
The test was conducted in India so I don't know the cultural nuance implications.