Mal Warwick first got me thinking about how often I use “you” (or I don’t use “you”!) in my fundraising letters.

Here’s a sort of test I saw in Fundraising Success magazine.

Does Your Messaging Pass the ‘You’ Test?

“The ‘you’ test is the quickest, surest way I know to judge whether materials are basically ‘donor ready.’ And it’s dirt simple. I invented this test, and I fully expect to get the Noble Prize in Usefulness some day. With [a] red pen in hand, circle each time the word ‘you’ appears in your material — any form of ‘you’: you’d, you’ll, your, you’re, yours, you’ve.

“Gaze at the results. If you see red circles all over the place, you’ve passed the ‘you’ test.

“If you see few red circles and there are large spaces without any circles, you’ve failed. Passing the ‘you’ test means you could raise lots of money. Failing the ‘you’ test means you won’t.”

— Tom Ahern, in his book How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money: The Art, the Science, the Secrets)

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