Sunday, February 7, 2010

Message #2 From Your Artful Mentor

Hello Summer Team Mentees,

Yes, it is I, your Artful Mentor, with my second weekly message to you. Today, we will discuss letters and checks, so let’s get started. We will talk about letters first.

There are 26 letters, and the first is the letter ‘A’. It is a very useful letter, and one of only two that can also make a complete word. The second letter, ‘B’, is also quite useful. Let’s start a sentence with it: “Boy-oh-boy, I forgot to let my Artful Mentor know I got his other email and to give him my phone contact information – I’d better do that right now!” The third letter ….. Wait, wrong letters! You know about these! I meant to talk about fund raising letters.

For most people, their email campaign is more successful with fundraising than sending letters is, but even for this group, a postal letter campaign can yield good results because some people just ignore emails if they get too many. So both letters and emails should both be part of your campaign. You can decide how much emphasis to give to each one, but here are some letter specific ideas:

* Get letters out to any contact that you don’t have an email address for, and for email contacts who you know fairly well and/or are not responding to your emails.
* Include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Yes, this is a cost to you but yields better results and is a courtesy to your potential donor.
* Include the URL of your web page in case people want to donate online
* Stress that the checks should be made out to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (or just LLS), not to you personally.
* Stress that donations of any amount are welcome.
* Give your fundraising goal and give a deadline of at least a couple of weeks before your recommitment.
* Get letters out early – LLS will pay for outbound postage for the first 100 letters, I believe.
* Customize your message – why are you doing this?
* Include information about LLS, its mission, your event, and the Team in Training program.
* If you have a specific patient you want to talk about, do so in your letter, but get permission first. Anyone who is an official patient honoree for TNT consents to this without you getting permission however.
* Keep the letter to one page if at all possible.
* Stress the importance of this cause, where the money goes to, and what a big task it is to ultimately cure all types of cancer
* Get creative if you want – maybe use some photos, original artwork, or a poster style. Last year I wrote my letter as a newsletter and called it “The Genuine Article.” I got the idea from Ed Stone, who called his “The Editorial.” If you want my example from last year, let me know.
* Write a thank you note when you get a donation.
* Watch your mail with increased excitement as envelopes addressed to you in your handwriting arrive, because they contain checks to LLS! Send your checks in every week.

Now, that segues into my second topic: checks. Checks are processed by Paycore. I’ve attached the form that goes with them. Never send cash to Paycore, and never send checks without this form. Fill out your personal information on the form and save it. Then, just print it off each week when you have checks to send. Total the number and the amount of the checks and write these totals on the form. Make a copy of the form and the checks (shred the check copies at the end of the season once everything is accounted for). Then mail the checks and the form to the address at the bottom of the form – not to the LLS office. Easy as 1-2-3, and your checks should show up in your website totals within 2-3 weeks. If someone makes a check out to you instead of LLS, I would either co-sign it to LLS, or cash it and make an identical online donation with my credit card that is credited to that person. By the way, if someone gives me cash – more common than you might think – I always do the latter.

Let me and/or Cate know if you want ideas on letters, want us to review your letters, or need more help on either of these topics. Other than that, I hope that we can finally train this coming Saturday. Also, mark February 20 on your calendar. We will have a special event – the Silent Mile – where you will meet many of the team patient honorees and teammates for the spring and 10K teams, as well as the cycle and tri teams.

Finally, here is a great resource for fundraising: TNT’s fundraising Webinar. Use it!

Please let me hear from you if you haven’t so far. I’ll see you Saturday.

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