What’s In My Mailbox | Are grandmas really angels in training? A before and after year-end appeal!

December 6, 2017

In November, an emergency appeal letter came in from Diana Russell, Director of Fund Development at Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, a “place of peace, prayer, and hospitality,” based in Ohio. I’ve worked with them before, and they are a Basics & More Alum. Diana asked if I could liven up their appeal, which was the first one to ever be written without a live interview. The time frame? The letter was headed to the printers the next day. The rewrite was a quick one and took just over an hour.

So how did I go about energizing their letter? I injected it with a donor focus…

1. Relatability. I made Father John’s story more relatable to the reader/donor by bringing it back to their perspective (“Can you imagine Grandma Mabel’s joy…”).
2. Audience awareness. I spoke directly to Catholic supporters who fear that their faith may not live on.
3. Additional level of engagement. I invited donors to share their stories about how their grandparent might have influenced their spiritual journey.
4. Personalization. Because they were using a mailing house, I instructed Diana to pull her top donors for mailing and to make it personal. She used first class postage and affixed individual post-it notes to letters going out to those donors.

Check out out by clicking on the the mailing below…



In a recent email, Diana reported on the results of the Maria Stein Shrine year-end appeal. “ROI = 644% – woot woot you rocked it out Pamela!” This was the highest return of any single Shrine mailing from the past three years. Donors also shared their stories via the “engagement” piece:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy Teson December 6, 2017 at 11:56 am

This is such a great example (and powerful appeal). Thanks for sharing your work! I always look forward to these posts.

Pamela Grow December 9, 2017 at 4:12 am

Thanks, Katy! I confess that I had my own grandmother in the back of my mind as the “donor personna” for this piece :).

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