YoungAssociates serves nonprofits in a variety of fields, including arts, history, and medicine


Donor Communications Checklist

When writing any kind of donor communications (briefing document, letter, brochure), consider a list such as this to review and improve your materials.

  • Are we alive and exciting—or boring and dull?
  • Have we stressed the personal approach in tone relative and proportionate to their giving level?
  • Are we selling the sizzle or the steak? Are we promising benefits instead of touting our mission, core values, vison?
  • Have we gotten to the heart of the matter quickly or are we beating around the bush?
  • Have we singled out our reader to make him/her feel unique? NOTHING in fundraising should make a donor feel they are one of thousands except for the donor wall.
  • Does the document use postscripts and headlines? They are the two most often read parts of a sales letter!
  • Does the entire package, including envelope, enclosure and return card, meet the “Fresh Eggs and Flying Lessons” test? That is, does the artwork give a feeling opposite to the copy? Do the numbers not connect with the public balance sheet?
  • Are there any contradictions? Test the numbers versus the words.
  • Did we clearly ask for the donation? Did we do so several times?
  • Assuming our donor wants to do it, is the donation form a mystery? Is there a place for pledges as well as cash? What logic was used in ordering the credit card list?
  • Are there words prospects or donors won’t understand?