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  Make Your Appeal Letters More Personal Potpourri

Canadian FundRaiserMake Your Appeal Letters More Personal With The Best Date Format

Are your fundraising letters impersonal by mistake? That depends on how you date them. Some dates are more personal than others. Here’s what I mean.


If you want your direct mail appeal letter to look as though it was generated by a machine, use this date format. This one is especially problematic if you are in Canada with donors in the US, or vice versa.

Readers who look over your letter years from now won’t be sure if your date means the 2nd of October or the 10th of February.

October 2006

If you want your donation request letter to look impersonal, use this date format. It’s the format used by monthly newsletter publishers, and so it makes your letter appear mass-produced.

2 October, 2006

This is better. Use this format to show that your fundraising letter was composed (or at least mailed) on a particular date (the rest of your letter will show that the letter was mailed to a particular person, for a particular reason).

Monday, 2 October, 2006

Use this format to make your letter even more personal. Since we tend to refer to days of the week by name and not by date (people say, “I eMailed you on Monday” rather than “I eMailed you on the 4th”), putting the day into your date makes your letter more personal and easier to refer to. Your reader doesn’t have to figure out what day of the week the 2nd of October is, since you tell her it is Monday.

Monday morning, 2 October, 2006

This one may look contrived. And it can be. But if you want your letter to look as personal and real as possible, and if your reader won’t think this is fake (and if it isn’t fake), mention the time of day you are writing. A letter dated “3:46 a.m. 2 October, 2006,” for example, would stand out. Why, after all, did the executive director sit down at such an early hour to write to me?

Only use this format if the time of day is relevant, and if you actually wrote the letter at that time. You shouldn’t lie about the time of composition any more than you should lie about anything else in your letter.

Honesty is always the best policy.

For further information: Alan Sharpe, President, Raiser Sharpe, 38 Wethered St., London ON N5Y 1G9, 877/742-7732, alan@sharpecopy.com, www.raisersharpe.com.

Canadian FundRaiser
Canadian FundRaiserSince 1991, the Canadian FundRaiser™ newsletter has been updating nonprofit managers twice-monthly on news, trends, tips and analysis of developments in the fields of fundraising and nonprofit management.

Our service, originally simply a twice-monthly newsletter, has expanded over the years to include workshops, books, back-issue search and Special Advisories for our member/subscribers. And the complete package is now the Canadian FundRaiser™ Nonprofit Sector Management Information Service.

Current Members can search back issues here, renew their Membership, or correct their address information in our secure files.

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Please take a look at the current issue of Canadian FundRaiser™ eNews, and if you haven’t done so already, sign up ­ at no cost ­ to receive future issues. Visit our Key-To-The-Sector Workshop Centre. Ask about Advertising & Sponsorship opportunities. Or send us an article suggestion. We’re waiting to hear from you.

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