How To Draft A Fundraising Letter That Converts Readers To Donors

wood-cube-abc-cube-letters-48898-1200x800

The internet, social media, and e-mail have come to take over fundraising letters. That is what you might have heard all the while. However, in truth, annual appeal letters and direct mail fundraising still works and they are still behind the millions of dollars that are generated annually by non-profit organizations and schools throughout the world. Today, let’s have a look at some important factors that go into the writing of an engaging and successful fundraising letter.

envelope_and_letter.jpg.size.custom.crop.1086x724

Write email letters for your potential donors and not your school teacher

Writing a fundraising letter is not like the usual class essay that you write. Successful fundraising letters are written in conversational tones that are easily understood by the vast majority of potential donors. It should be able to engage readers to take action. Avoid acronyms or high-brow languages. A fundraising letter should be simple and should be written in basic language for the sixth grade student to understand. After all, what matters is not the language, it is the network, connections, and actions that the letter would create and making it simple is the ultimate way of ensuring that.

If your letter becomes lengthy, let it be

Don’t make sacrificial decisions by thinking about how long your letter should be. Don’t make a hard rule that your letters are going to be 3 pages or 4 pages or even one page. Take all the necessary page you would need in writing the letter. At the end of the work, the most important thing is how the letter conveys your message. Do not try to squeeze your message into a small paper just because you think letters should be short. No matter the number of pages, just make sure that whatever you communicate across is simple and easy to understand by the reader.

If it will take up to 10 pages to craft a comprehensive message, do it. If, however, you could still convey the same message in a less number of pages like 3 or 4 pages, then go for the smaller page size letter. Some readers are fun of getting mad at long letters and if you can make a long message short with the same meaning, why not?

For the best part, always try to convey your message in a simple and easy manner that is understood by your readers. That requires the use of less number of pages to convey your message.

57ae2fefe7b6e.image

Make sure that your message appeals to the emotions of your reader

Remember that your fundraising letter is not going to be read by robots, but by humans. Make sure that you appeal to the reader’s emotions by taking into consideration their religion, their beliefs and worldview about humanity, their sense of justice and fairness to themselves and society, and their hope for a better future for the younger generation.

The ultimate thing to know is that people donate the more when they are touched or their emotions are aroused. If you want to appeal to your readers, then you need to put yourself in their shoes. This will help you craft an engaging fundraising letter that will convert readers to donors.

MSAD22
When I was a kid, my parents moved every couple of years, which meant that I changed schools every couple of years

Continue Reading

7 Things to Know about the American Education System

imrs.php

 

As we have seen all of the political dirty mudslinging as  of late, the question of the education system in America always comes up for air again. In that, there has been shouted that there is a crisis in the system. Between the Common Core controversies, teachers being paid below the livable wage, and schools slashing funding left and right, it does seem that there is a crisis happening in the public school systems in the United States.

But what is the truth on the topic? Here are seven facts on the truth about the American education system to let you decide for yourself.

size0-army.mil-93240-2010-12-01-061209

  1. The education assessment is mostly based on the graduation rate of students as opposed to overall performance. That means that C students are getting lumped together with the Valedictorians, because they all graduated. The statistic on graduation gets more depressing when we look at it from the perspective on race issues. In 2012, African American students only had a 69% graduation rate, while Latinos had a 73% graduation rate. Asians were the highest at 88% with Caucasian students sitting at 86%. Overall though, we should be doing better.
  2. In the early 1980s, the United States was considered the world leader on education, with our high school diplomas being worth more than any other country in the world. By today’s standards, we are currently sitting at 36th most valuable, having fallen terribly behind.
  3. It has been shown that the vast majority (97%) of low-income students need to use the school’s internet access in order to have any access to the internet at all. While this may not seem that bad, keep in mind that not all schools have internet access. There are 40 million students without high-speed internet in their schools, which means if there are any low-income students among them, which there likely is, those students will not have access to the internet at all. While you could think that the internet is a luxury, the truth is that we as a society have become so reliant on it that we need it to function at both school and work in order to be successful. Low-income students on the whole are at a disadvantage anyway, and adding in this to the mix cannot be a good helping hand to get them out of their current situation.

tut7

  1. There were approximately 1.3 million high school dropouts in 2010, which is the annual average for how many students do not graduate on time. More food for thought on the matter is that if those 1.3 million students had actually graduated from high school, the United States would have had approximately $337 billion more in income earnings over the course of those students’ lives than they had having not finished high school.
  2. If a third-grade student is capable of reading at the age appropriate level, that student is four times more likely to successfully graduate high school on time than a student who is behind in literacy.
  3. As far as four-year institutions are concerned, only about half of students who start out at a four-year college will graduate in the allotted four-years.
  4. Teachers are often assessed based on the testing abilities of their students. But taking this into consideration, about 14% of teachers will quit after they have only taught for one year. 33% of teachers will leave within their first three years teaching and half will leave within the first five years of teaching. It is hard to think that the two concepts are actually separate from each other, but there are obviously other contributing factors to this as well.

https://youtu.be/dvKomfhfqhs

MSAD22
When I was a kid, my parents moved every couple of years, which meant that I changed schools every couple of years

Continue Reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Education in the USA

slide

We have been hailed as the greatest country in the world. Ok, perhaps sometime we are hailing ourselves that way, but regardless, you cannot disagree on the point that we are an excellent world power. The United States has its hand in so many different economies and countries around the world, that it still maintains its reputation of being a world power with ease.

But even if we are one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world, what does our education system look like by comparison? With memes floating all over Facebook about how Scandinavian education is superior, we need to look at our own system outside of the internet. Let’s just look at the hard facts of the education system in order to make a fair and appropriate assessment.

Our Literacy Rates are Excellent

Say what you want about the failures of the American education system, but you cannot argue that our literacy rates are not spectacular. We have a 99% literacy rate so when you factor in the people who cognitively cannot learn to read, you are left with a small population of people who were failed by either the education system or perhaps child development services. Really, that is an incredibly small amount of people.

Literacy should not be taken for granted either. Reading is an integral part of our lives. You need to read in order to take a subway, read a map, order food, read what you buy in the grocery store, follow road signs, and even just exist as a citizen. It is also fairly impossible to work in this country without being literate. Even the most hands-on jobs require the ability to read and understand things, even if it is at a rudimentary level.

There are Three Acceptable Forms of Education

The vast majority of children in the United States attend public schools (87%), but there are also private schools and home schooling. Private schools make up for about 10% of the education system. The least amount of children are home schools. As long as the programs are accredited, it is acceptable.

Public schools are what are funded by the state governments. The teachers, staff, building maintenance, and more are all paid for by the government, the curriculum is built by the government, and the school system is monitored by the government. They create standards of learning that some perceive as controversial that they expect the basic public school to be able to meet. Private schools create their own curriculum, but are still expected to be able to match certain administrative requirements in order to be considered an acceptable type of school. Home schooling receives the most criticism among parenting groups because it is the parent acting as the teacher instead of an actual teacher. There are programs and expected curriculum that home schooled students are expected to be able to perform. Overall, it seems like most home schooled children do very well academically, but they do miss out on valuable social building opportunities.

The Set Up

The American school system is generally broken down into four educational categories. The first is preschool, which is not required by the government and is entirely optional. There are state-run preschool programs, but most preschools cost money out of pocket for parents.

The standard breakdown of school for minors is elementary school (ages 5 through 12, normally), middle school (ages 12 through 14), and high school (ages 14 through 18). There is some variety as far as the age ranges go depending on birthdate cutoffs, how well the children are performing, and some schools will begin earlier than others. Some middle schools are three or four years instead of two. It depends greatly on where you are and what your school system is like. Most students will graduate at the age of 18, releasing them from the public education system.

https://youtu.be/Qf2Z6xVqGAA

MSAD22
When I was a kid, my parents moved every couple of years, which meant that I changed schools every couple of years

Continue Reading

The American Education System: A Guide for Foreigners

Article27

 

Having grown up in the American education system, I think I have an understanding on how it operates from the student perspective. As an adult, have been working in the education for a decade, so I think that I speak from experience and knowledge when I talk about it. That said, it can be a different concept to understand if you have not lived it and are not incredibly familiar with it.

So this is a barebones guide for people who are outside of the American system to get a look at what it is.

Cost of Education in America

The majority of students in the United States go to public school. Public schools are free, since they are paid for by taxes. The amount that goes to the schools varies completely by where the schools are. Some states and local governments pump more money into the education system than other areas. This usually depends on the economy of the surrounding area. More affluent places will be able to pay for more than less affluent areas, so there is a huge variation between the quality of schools.

It is also because of this that it is harder to attract teachers to teach in low-income areas. The quality of the materials and the school itself is a lot lower if there is not enough money pumped into it. This is why there are education foundations to help out schools. Without some extra financing, many schools would fail under the current system since tax money is constantly being diverted away from education into areas that the government finds more profitable.

The Grading System

The basic grading system of students in the United States is an A, B, C, D, F grading system, where A is the best that you can do. Students that earn the most A’s in school usually have an easier time getting into colleges since they have already shown that they do well and are ready to go to college. C is considered “average” and is a passing grade. Anything below C is failing and is not considered a passed class.

The issue with the grading system is that it can be based greatly on test scores and standardized abilities, which is not appropriate for every type of learner out there. Also a disappointment is that when we look at our success rates for students, the grades are not taken into consideration, but instead it is the graduation rate. This often does not make sense as teachers are assessed based on the students’ abilities to pass tests, but not based on how well the students performed toward graduating from high school.

Who Has to Go

Education is required by law for all school-aged children. Of course if a student has graduated early, this does not apply. But a parent cannot keep a child at home instead of sending them to school. That is unless they are participating in a home school program, but these are also monitored and have standards that have to be met in order to be accepted. Children must go to school. Part of this was originally based on the United States Governments strong desire to have all children and adults be completely literate.

The literacy rate in the United States is pretty darned perfect, so while we need to do better with our quality of education as well as our success rate for students, we have mostly achieved a completely literate society. Unfortunately, this has not kept Americans from watching reality tv shows, but at least we know that they have the ability to pick up a book and read it.

https://youtu.be/7Bcc2purNs4

MSAD22
When I was a kid, my parents moved every couple of years, which meant that I changed schools every couple of years

Continue Reading