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Fundraisers: Use This Tool Before You Send An Email

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How to Use Social Media to Improve Donor Loyalty

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Which is better?

“Dear Mr. Shattuck,

My name is Rory Green and I am writing to express an interest in writing a guest blog post for Bloomerang. I have discovered an online tool that makes communication with donors easier and more effective, and I believe it would be of value to your readership.”


“Hi Steven!

What’s up buddy? How is the new office coming along?

Listen, I have a killer idea for a blog post, you interested? Here’s the jist, I have been using this awesome online tool that makes writing e-mails to donors a breeze.”

Some of you may say the first one – a fundraiser should always be professional? Some of you may like the second one much more – everyone prefers a friendly tone.

The truth is – it depends on the donor. There’s no one perfect way to write an e-mail, or letter. It all depends on your audience.

As a fundraiser, I often find myself reaching out to people I’ve never met to ask for a meeting. I always find it a little daunting.

How friendly should I be? How much information should I share up front? Should the e-mail be long or short? Should I include extra information as an attachment or save that for the meeting? Should I ask for a phone meeting or a lunch? I’ve spend hours agonizing over introductory e-mails…

And then – one day Pamela Grow shared something on Facebook: an online tool called Crystal.

Crystal is nothing short of amazing – it analyzes all of the information about a person online, and makes recommendations on how to communicate with them. It answers many of the questions I ask myself when drafting a cold-email.

Let’s go back to my question above – let’s say I wanted to send Steven Shattuck an e-mail to ask for a meeting. What’s the best way to go about that? Well – let’s see what Crystal has to say:


Steven is a gifted communicator, prioritizes relationships, and trusts his instincts – sometimes making gut decisions against logic.

When speaking to Steven…

  • Emphasize the future
  • Use self-deprecating humor (don’t act like you take yourself too seriously)
  • Tell a few jokes
  • Speak with an informal tone
  • Go into review mode

When emailing Steven…

  • Write with short casual language and abbreviations
  • Use an emoticon 🙂
  • Use emotionally expressive language
  • Appeal to his feelings to drive him to action

When working with Steven…

  • Confront conflict in person rather than via email
  • Express criticism in person or on the phone
  • Recognize his achievements verbally
  • Send a reminder the day before a meeting

It comes naturally to Steven to…

  • Trust someone quickly
  • Make hand motions while talking
  • Focus on deep & close relationships rather than high quantity
  • Immediately feel comfortable speaking to a new person

Now, Steven will have to weigh in on how accurate that is – but I think it’s pretty on the money. This information is so helpful to me – it gives me permission to be informal and friendly and sets me up for success from the first e-mail.

But – not everyone wants to be communicated with the way Steven does. Others may prefer you to be more frank and to the point, some may want all the information laid out for them, some people prefer a very professional communications. Using this tool means I don’t have to spend time agonizing over the first e-mail.

Give it a try! You can sign up for free and try it out by looking up yourself, your friends, co-workers, your boss, your board members. I use it almost daily.

Adaptability is essential for a successful fundraiser – especially one who works with individual donors face to face. Knowing how to adapt your tone, level of formality and language to the person you are speaking to is a skill that will get you far.

So – give it a try! Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.

As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to Simon Fraser University’s Applied Sciences Women in Engineering Chair.

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  • Steven Shattuck

    My wife and co-workers are going to have a field day with this.
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