The Love Language of Appeal Letters

By Phyllis Hockett

I often talk with clients about the importance of making their donors the center of their communications. So often we fall into the common fundraising language of: how important the organization’s work is, how many people the organization serves, why it is urgent to support the organization now, and so on. However, what is truly essential is to speak to your donor about her/his importance.

A few sample phrases from a recent fundraising appeal letter may inspire you to significantly change your language. For example:

  • “We talk about how these special, compassionate, selfless, kind people LIKE YOU make so much possible.”
  • “And you know, here’s a little secret I shouldn’t reveal at board and staff retreats, we always end up talking about YOU, the donor, the true believer, the supporter, the family member."
  • “We talk about how important you are. Frankly, we gush. I hope you don’t mind.”

Read more about donor-centric love language from fundraising experts Gail Perry and Tom Ahern.