At the suggestion of a client, I participated in a free professional development webinar “Storytelling with Appeal Letters” as part of the Philanthropy for All Storytelling for Non-Profits Virtual Conference on January 29th, 2014.
My fellow attendees included professional fundraisers, marketing and communications people, and volunteer board members. It was heartening to see we face the same challenges, especially in Canada, as we grapple with the imminent impact of Canada Post’s service reductions. That said, many of the take-ways from this webinar including how to create urgency in your story, the frequency of appeals, and how to segment your donor lists apply equally to online appeals.
I liked that the webinar slides were in simple bullet form. Who knew the seven key emotions that make people give are:
According to the presenter Mazarine Treyz, “storytelling is key to a great letter. And conflict is key to a good story. Ask yourself what happens when the non-profit-organization is not there to come up with the conflict.”
Of special interest was the discussion around fonts and how to effectively use and incorporate hand-drawn fonts in appeal letters. The presenter highly recommended FontSquirrel as a source for free fonts.
Would I attend a similar event again in the future? Absolutely. The price is right and I also learned about the nifty app AnyMeeting, which offers free and low-cost web, video, and phone conferencing and webinar services for small business.