Skip to content
Contact Us
Contact Us
June 15, 2023

“But My Donors are Different!” 3 Direct Response Donor Myths

You know the feeling. After months of planning, reviewing, and polishing, your direct response campaign makes its way into the world. It hits mailboxes and screens all over town.

Then, you start hearing from the people who saw it. Your Board Members. Staff. Volunteers. The donors you know by name and those you see at fundraising events. And each of them has an opinion about your campaign.

I’m sorry to tell you this, but these people are not telling you the truth.

Or rather, they’re telling you their truth. That’s the problem.

They’re your inner circle. When a member of your inner circle — even one of your best donors — gives you feedback about a direct response campaign, you can bet their opinion doesn’t represent the typical donor. Because they’re not your typical donor.

Your best donors are a wonderful segment to cultivate and solicit with a high-touch approach. But they’re not the best people to give you advice about the thousands of people you’re still building a relationship with.

Here are some myths your inner circle might have you believing.


Donor Myth #1: “I don’t need all these fundraising tactics. Just let me give.”

Thank goodness for donors who give, consistently, just because they care. These people are a blessing to any organization … but they’re not typical. And there’s too few of them to sustain your organization long-term.

Most donors know you need donations, but they still need a reason to give today. For them, we offer them matching gift opportunities, campaigns with deadlines, compelling bounceback devices, freemiums, vouchers, and more. We use these strategies because they work. They move people outside your inner circle to give.


Donor Myth #2: “I read every word of your letters.”

Your typical direct response donor cares about you, but their attention is in high demand. So, it’s a courtesy to them — and a good strategic move – to assume they’re skimming at least part of your copy.

That’s why we make sure our copy is direct, has an easy readability score and builds momentum to your CTA. We create visual entry points throughout your campaign and make sure captions and call-outs do extra work. We hope your story moves your donors deeply, but most of all, we want your donors to take action.


Donor Myth #3: “I’m more sophisticated than other charities' donors.”

This is true in many ways. After all, they were smart enough to choose YOU, right?

Someone who gives to fund cancer research is likely to be better versed in medical language, while someone who donates to an animal shelter may have a baseline understanding of animal welfare. We use different words to speak to different donors, and we recognize the unique motivators that inspire their giving.

But direct response fundraising has to include everyone. That’s why we’re intentional about rejecting lingo and insider language, speaking in simple terms and casting a wide net.

You’re an expert in your field. But you need support from people who don’t know the nuances of what you do. They just want to make a difference — plain and simple — and our job is to make sure they do.


Here’s the thing about direct response: donor behavior is broadly consistent. We can build a cadence around it, from acquisition to cultivation to renewal. We can see it follow nationwide trends. And along the way, we rigorously test, watch response, and evaluate our approach.

You know your best donors — those who email you, call you, and invite you into their worlds. A good direct response program can help you reach many more people.

Some of your very best donors are still out there, and you haven’t even identified them yet. We’ll help you reach them.

Related Articles

View All