Maybe you’ve heard that old adage: information tells, emotion sells. I suggest you print that out and put it in front of you when you’re writing, so that you make sure you start with emotion and then sprinkle your writing with information, and NOT start with information and sprinkle it with emotion.
In major gifts fundraising – in all fundraising for that matter – emotion needs to lead. Why? Because every non-profit exists to solve a problem. And every problem left unresolved evokes emotion.
Stop and think about this: what societal problem is your organization addressing? What is the consequence of that problem not being solved? You have two possible outcomes:

  1. The problem goes away and a human being, animal or some aspect of the planet is saved, restored, made whole, made right.
  2. The problem doesn’t go away, and the problem persists. Humans, animals and the planet are hurt.

The problem and the consequences of not dealing with it are real, poignant and emotional. You can’t get around it.
In our opinion, all your messaging and pictures should be convincing, emotional and motivating. And it will be because you will, through your words and pictures, take the donor to the scene so he experiences what it means to be IN the problem your organization is addressing.
Within that context, you will include some information (numbers and desired outcomes). Doing it this way, you create empathy, caring, compassion and a factual/logical basis for giving. This approach captures everyone.
Remember, major gift fundraising is about fulfilling the interests and passions of donors. That, my friend, is emotional and compelling. Also, remember that a societal problem is erased or eased by a donor’s gift. That’s how fundraising works.
So the next time you have pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, write as though you’re addressing a person in your life who is compassionate, caring, thoughtful and empathetic. Believe me, your communication will turn out so much better. And it will also get the results you want.