The Weirdest Fundraising Letter I’ve Ever Written

I just listened to a podcast, and discovered I’m a bigger idiot when it comes to fundraising than I thought. I know it’s hard to believe that I’d admit I’m an idiot about anything. Not enough people understand my charming humility, but it’s true.WPPSC Final Design 2 large

I mean, I knew I was an idiot for not doing regular appeals for your hard earned cash, and for not sending you little updates all the time so the Waco Partnership would remain comfortably nestled in your packed head. But this podcast brought me to my sinner’s knees! I mean, I’m confessin’ bigger than… well… bigger than something extremely huge! I need for you to forgive me for being an idiot fundraiser!

But I’ve seen the light, and I’ve seen it clearer than… well… trust me… it’s clear. I want to run through what I’ve learned, and see how well it works. Here goes…

The Threatening-Kittens Strategy

I now know that the most effective way to raise money is to threaten to kill a kitten. Hear me out… smarter people than you and me combined have studied this stuff, and they say threatened-kitten-killing is biggie when it comes to rakin’ in major moolah. One caveat: This fund-raising Einstein insists that you should never suggest anything that you wouldn’t actually do. I’ve had several cats over the years that have almost pushed me over the edge, but let’s face it, I’m just not up to it… at least not while they’re kittens.

The closest thing I could come up with in this category of fund-raising strategies is this: If people don’t send the Waco Partnership money, I’m going to slap Burt Burleson, the chairman of our board, really, really hard. I mean, like, leave a big ol’ red whelp type hard. It occurs to me, however, that there are more than a few folks that would be all-in for a slap on the chaplain’s noggin. Even I can see that it’s not a good idea to threaten to NOT do something a lot of people would enjoying watching.

The Beautiful-Women Strategy

So, now I’m stuck with considering a second well-researched approach: beautiful women. Look, I know how offensive this is to many of you, but it’s not my fault it works! The research shows that when a man answers the door and a beautiful woman is raising money, greenbacks start flying! Doesn’t work when a woman answers the door. It doesn’t even work when a man as handsome as Brad Herridge, another member of our board, is the fundraiser (sorry Brad).

Now, I thought maybe I had a chance with this angle, but Lenora Crowder and Lisa Hull, the two females on the board, were killjoys. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have floated the bikini idea, but was I really supposed to know they’d be THAT offended? I just never imagined Lenora being someone who would ever ask, “May I respectfully suggest where you can place said bikini?” I know you’ll be shocked, but I answered Lenora’s question in the affirmative, and no, I’m not going to repeat her next sentence. Children might read this.

The What’s-In-It-For-Me? Strategy

Okay, by now you are probably thinking, “Geeeezzzz… He really IS an idiot! Why doesn’t he just appeal to the tried and true warm-fuzzies approach.” Hah, and that shows how much you don’t know! The research indicates this almost never works! Sadly, it appears that even Christians aren’t moved to give based on “Jesus will smile if you help!” Nope, the guy on the podcast was clear about this. If you can’t go with kittens or beautiful women, you’re best to go with the what’s-in-it-for me approach. But even this one is sort of hard to pull off. See, some big ol’ outfits can do things like: Everyone who gives a $1000 will get a free ticket to a private Frank Sinatra concert. The Waco Partnership can’t possibly do this. Frank Sinatra is dead!

So, then I thought of my client who told me that counseling had turned him into such a generous person that he stopped to help a little old lady change a tire in a rainstorm. The client was only able to see me because of support from WPPSC. So, what if he’d not been able to see me, and remained a selfish jerk, and THAT HAD BEEN YOUR GRANDMOTHER NOT GETTING HELPED! See? If you give to WPPSC, then your grandmother will get help changing a tire in the rain! How do you feel now? Is that one striking a chord? No? Well, maybe you are the one who needs therapy! (The guy on the podcast really didn’t say anything about where suggesting potential donors might need therapy fits into the fundraising picture).

My Eclectic Approach

Don’t you love the word “eclectic?” Don’t you wish you could use it as smoothly as me? I mean, people rave about the ease with which I work eclectic into conversations, and leave the impression I actually understand what it means. Let me demonstrate.

Approaching the issue eclectically, there are a number of clear promises I can make to you regarding your gift to WPPSC:

  • No kittens will die under any circumstances (can’t really commit to Burt not getting slapped).

  • You will continue to find that the members of the board and the therapists who work with WPPSC are gifted, generous people.

  • A donation of $25 will cover the average subsidy for an hour of counseling. (And please note, WPPSC only subsidizes about 20% of the discounts that our counselors provide.)

  • A donation of $50 will cover two hours, and get you a FREE COPY, signed by me of our new book, Whirlwind: Journeys with Job through Grief, Anxiety, and Pain (www.jobinthewhirlwind.com).

  • Any donations of $75+ will get you a book, and you might end up with some of the warm fuzzy feelings the fund-raising geniuses say don’t work!

So, please, would you help us out? This link right here makes it easy: Donate

Humbly,

Wes

P.S. In case you are interested in the podcast I reference, you can hear it here. I’m sure you’ll agree that I’ve masterfully applied all of their strategies in this weird letter! What better person to make weird applications than me? I bet a lot of people would say I’m the Will Ferrell of fundraising letters.

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About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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