An Effective Response Device: Top Tips to Make Sure Yours Works

A response device is a document that donors use when they send your organization a gift.

The most effective one is a separate insert in a fundraising package, newsletter or promotion (a tear-out requires more work from your prospect). Good response devices are ...

  • worded from the donor’s point of view, rather than yours
  • clean and concise
  • convenient and easy to read

Here's how to write  key elements of your device.

3 tips for writing effective response devices with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

The headline

Emphasize a single, main benefit in your headline – one that matches the theme threading its way through your letter. Personalize the headline by using first-person language – my, me, and I – as if the prospect is personally telling you about his decision to partner with you: “Here’s my gift to provide clean water to suffering children in Uganda.” Language like this gives your entire package (carrier, letter, inserts, device) a conversational, back-and-forth feel.

Response statement

Word this brief statement, placed right below the headline, as if the donor is responding to you in a conversation. Include additional benefits that will result from the donor’s gift. “Yes, Rick – I want to make sure Ugandan villages have wells that provide clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Here is my generous gift of …”

Gift array

Suggest a range of amounts in an open-box or bubbled, bulleted list, allowing the donor to select her gift amount. If your mailing list is segmented and flagged, you can specify a gift to match or upgrade the prospect’s previous giving record. And always include “Other $______” in your bulleted list, so a donor can choose a gift amount not suggested.

Giving options

Offer several ways donors can give – checks, credit cards, online giving, monthly electronic drafts. And make sure you emphasize your nonprofit status by the reminder that “your gift is tax-deductible.”

Your contact information

Feature your organization’s name, address, phone number, email, and web address clearly on your response device. Yes, this sounds intuitive. But if a prospect realizes she’s misplaced your return envelope, and there’s no contact information on your response form, chances are slim that she’ll track down where to send her check – and you’ll lose a gift.

Other partnership opportunities

Consider listing planned giving, monthly giving, in-kind giving, and volunteer opportunities.

"Thank you"

You can’t say it enough. Even on a response device.


See more tips on our Fundraising Writing Pinterest Board

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