I like reading obscure things: prefaces to books, notes on receipts, credits after movies. So it’s no surprise that I read the marketing message on the new bag of East African coffee my wife bought for us to try.

What I read on this coffee bag blew me away

Great copy on this coffee bag - is your nonprofit fundraising writing as targeted?Seriously. You can see it for yourself off to the side here.

The first line seemed boring corporate speak:

Our team at Westrock Coffee strongly believes it is critical to take an active role to improve the quality of life in the African communities where we buy…

But it quickly added something about me:

…where we buy your coffee.

Not “our” coffee but “my” coffee.

They had my attention. And they kept it for the rest of the panel!

By purchasing this bag of Westrock Coffee you are making a substantial and sustainable difference in communities throughout East Africa.

Specifically, with each purchase, you are helping fund clean water projects for coffee producers, their families, and neighbors who otherwise would not have accessible clean water, improve access to affordable dairy and protein for women and families that otherwise would not have proper nutrition, and instructional, hands-on training for coffee producers about agronomy, health education, and other life-changing programs.

Each bag of coffee makes a difference, and together we are investing in the lives of real people to make a lasting change in the quality of their future. Thank you for joining our team.

Is your fundraising letter as good?

Here are some things that stand out:

  • Only the first and last line mention the company

    And even those mention the coffee company in inviting way. The first line says they’re buying my coffee. (Not that I, the customer, am buying their coffee!) And the last lets me know my purchase got me onto a team. I had no idea there was a team to join! I was often the last picked in grade school, but here I got the feeling they’d been waiting for me.

  • They expect me to buy again

    Do you see the beginning of the second paragraph? “…with each purchase…”! I was just trying this coffee out. But now…how can I not continue helping all these families?

  • The message is all about the impact I am having

    Did you see that? Yes, the second paragraph is one impossibly long sentence. But what a sentence! I learn that:

    • I am helping fund clean water projects for everyone
    • I am helping women and children eat better
    • I providing training in agriculture and health!

    They even give me a QR code to actually watch “how your support is directly making a significant and long-lasting difference for the people in these communities”!

I thought we were just buying an inexpensive alternative to Peets or Starbucks. But now I see that I’m changing lives in a long-term systemic way. And I keep doing that each time I buy a bag of their reasonably priced coffee.


Are you making your donors say “wow”?

Are you writing your fundraising letters this persuasively? Do donors say “wow” after reading your letter or your nonprofit’s thank you? Are you expecting donors to only make one gift a year or to keep on making gifts throughout the year? Are you welcoming them to the team?

There’s still time to tweak some of your year end fundraising letters, emails, and your nonprofit’s web copy.

Grab a cup of coffee and get to it!

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