August 4, 2016

Annual Appeal Letters, Are You Helping Chickens?

Annual Appeal Letters, Are You Helping Chickens?I collect those letters and shred them for a friend who raises chickens.” 

“If they send me a dime or a nickel, I put it in my wallet.”

“I wonder how much money they make on those letters.”

“What a waste.”

The conversation was among new friends at breakfast. The discussion had flipped from medical mission work in Haiti to appeal letters. The medical mission, including a container box refashioned into a prosthesis lab, was praised as “wonderful.” 

The appeal letters annoyed these friends. This irritation was real even though some undoubtedly contained opportunities to support outstanding work in Haiti or elsewhere.


We love, honor, and respect the work of saving and changing lives. We’re indifferent -and even cynical about the processes used to obtain resources that create tremendous results, nonprofit annual appeal campaigns and asks.

You know this. 

The question is, what will we do about it? What does it teach us?

To move out of the pile of requests that flood mailboxes, lead with the results of your request for funding.

Remember, mission first. And, money follows mission.

Results obliterate cynicism.

How can you use this information?

Pick up your appeal letter draft? How do you open it? Do you share what’s possible? Do you create wonder, respect, and admiration for your work? Or, do your letter and the material around it shout, send us money. Without sharing your vision, someone might just shred your work for chickens.

For more about annual appeals and yearend fundraising:

Read: How to Plan Your Nonprofit Year-End Annual Appeal Fundraising

Watch: How to Make Your Nonprofit’s Yearend Annual Appeal a Smashing Success

Read: How to Set Realistic Nonprofit Fundraising & Income Expectations

For more answers, check out this Nonprofit  CEO Library.

For solutions delivered to your inbox sign up for Karen’s CEO Solutions.

If you want to know even more about annual appeals, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help you create a dynamic strategy to help your nonprofit thrive. Schedule a time for a free discovery chat here. -Karen

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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