News and Information about the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts. Check back frequently to keep informed.
December 3, 2021
Five Direct Response Rules for Winning with Multi-donors
Nonprofits depend on donations, both those of the one-time nature and those coming from donors who give over and over again.

As an increasing number of nonprofits has entered the fundraising fray, donors could find themselves swamped by appeals to their heads, hearts, and wallets. How does a worthy organization get people to keep on giving, especially when there is competition for money?

Herschell Gordon Lewis, a nonprofit consultant and direct-response guru, offers what he calls his five rules of multi-donor elimination avoidance.
  • Don’t congratulate multi-donors, except participants in a program worthy of congratulations itself. Remember, nowadays many online scams begin “Congratulations.”
  • Don’t use exclamation points. The very nature of an exclamation point transforms material form “information” to “sell.” A calm demeanor, in person or print, is a confidence builder. An excited demeanor diminishes stature.
  • An invitation should be from an individual, not the organization at large. “I’m inviting you” has octane that “We’re inviting you” can’t match.
  • Sincerity trumps production. Skepticism and rejection increase in direct ratio to the distance established or maintained between the organization/individual and the person who needs to be convinced.
  • If you repeat yourself in subsequent communications, acknowledge that you are doing so. If you don’t, you run the risk that the recipient will see your appeal as impersonal and boilerplate.

Republished with permission from the June 1, 2006, issue of the The Nonprofit Times.
SUBSCRIBE FREE – Keep current with the Wednesday Report emailed to you free each week. Click here.
Got news, advice, resources? Send it to