5 Big Tips for Writing Compelling Year-End Letters & Emails

October 1, 2014

Guest Blog by Joanna Joslyn, Founder and Lead Consultant, Joslyn Creative

Read the original blog here.

1. Stay On-brand! Year-End Appeals can inspire between one-third and a half of an organization’s fundraising revenues, they reach the largest pool of an organization’s supporters, and they are actually read more than other appeals. Which is why they are worth the extra effort. And why they must be on-brand.

The Year-End Appeal isn’t just a solicitation, it’s a PR event, and your most important mail event of the year should look and feel like your organization–it should express the ethos your brand is designed to communicate. Ditto emails and landing pages.

2. Tell a good story. The ideal number of pages, bolded headlines, and font size are all up for debate, but there’s no denying the best appeal is a good story. Stories are intimate–they ask the reader to relate, to care. Stories create context for understanding new information, and reveal the discrepancies between what is, and what we can create. Good stories move and unite us.

3. Be beautiful. Use images in printed materials as your budget allows, but in emails, spare no expense! Images are easier to “read,” easier to remember, and can be far more emotive than even your fabulous writing. And people like to click them.

3. Clearly ask for a gift; three times. Ask directly, ask softly, and imply an ask.

4. Emails should be forwardable. And still make sense.

5. Sign emails, too. The digital signature is a socially accepted suspension of reality, a collective recollection of the historic printed signature that we each understand to mean “this message was originated by a specific person who has personally chosen me to receive it.” A signature at the bottom of an email makes it more personal, just as it does a printed letter.

Sincerely yours,


 Founder and Lead Consultant, Joslyn Creative

P.S. This little personal touch at the bottom of the page remains the most read message of an appeal letter. Bon Chance!

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