In Fundraising Secret #5: Use Blue Ink, I encouraged you to enhance your direct mail with a simple bit of color. Another oft overlooked tool in fundraising letters is the P.S.

Postscripts are so important to fundraising letters, I often tell seminar attendees that mailing a letter without a PS is a waste of time and money.

Let's assume you're lucky enough to have a donor prospect that actually opens your letter. If your donor's like me, the only reason I open a letter is that I have a relationship with or interest in the organization. Most everything else goes into the recycling bucket.

Studies indicate that, after pulling out the letter, the first thing your reader will look at is the address section--is this letter for them. If it's just a "Dear Donor" letter, chances are it's destined to the recycle bin.

The next thing they read? Not your incredibly witty "the weather is turning brisk here in Paducah" opening line but the PS. Yep, they glance at the address block and then the PS. Apparently some guy in the 1960's discovered this by actually tracking people's eyeball movements as they read letters.

So please, use the PS.

One of the things I love about PS's is that it forces me to sum up the entire appeal in 2-3 sentences.

  • What am I really asking them to give to?
  • What makes this so special that it should beat out the other fundraising appeals on their desk?
  • What date is it imperative the gift comes in by?
  • How much do I want them to give?

If I can't clearly state my message and "call to action" in a couple sentences, I certainly won't be able to my one or two page letter!

So use a PS. (And to be really effective, find out how to do it in blue ink!)

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