Link to this page

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

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

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

More on copywriting elements in nonprofit copywriting

Essential copywriting elements for powerful nonprofit copywriting ...

Using headlines: does your headline do its job?

Using anecdotes: how to capture readers with a slice of life ...

Using testimonials: how to harness the power of a testimonial ...

Using subheads: 6 secrets to effective subheads ...

Return from An Effective Response Device to Nonprofit Copywriter home

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Powered by SBI! Learn more here.
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search This Site

Share This Page


Named to 2022 Writer's Digest list

Get Free Writing Tips

Stop Wasting Time!

Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"

XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!