What’s in My Mailbox | “Who’s Irreplaceable? You are!”

November 17, 2021


Lisa Blackwell is a fundraising board member for Temple Concord Synagogue in Binghamton, NY. She also works to raise funds for Kilmer Mansion.

Earlier this month, Lisa sent over her end-of-year appeal letter for one of our “feedback and fine-tuning” sessions.

Take a look and you’ll see why Lisa’s letter garnered high praise.

Why Lisa’s letter works:

  • Say “you” often. Any time you start a sentence with “We,” go back and see how to reframe it as something “you,” the donor, did. Lisa incorporates the word “you” throughout (for a total of 32 instances!)
  • The reader is taken on a journey…literally walking through the historic venue in the pages of the letter
  • Plenty of white space, easily read serif font, indented paragraphs
  • An ask on every page (in today’s distractible climate, you must get to the point quickly and often)
  • Comes in at roughly Grade 5-6 reading level
  • A solid sense of urgency (“…restoration work be completed by the end of 2023. It will take another $325,000…”)
  • Celebration of the donor’s role (“Who is irreplaceable…You are.”)
  • Good underlining and bolding for emphasis
  • Excellent response device, one that is easily filled out if the donor donates by way of a check

If I was to make any suggestions at all, as a lover of historical preservation, I might have mentioned that, out of four of the Riverside mansions, the Kilmer is the only one remaining (the others have sadly been demolished). It would be a tragedy to lose it.

Click the image to download Lisa’s letter.

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