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Rewriting an Appeal Letter : Cut out the Gangrene

Today we’re going to do a little medical clinic on this appeal letter.

First, let’s cut out the gangrene.

So, scan the patient below. What needs to be cut?

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Dear «Salutation»:

Recently, our nation and communities participated in one of the most fundamental rights of a free society – voting. You understand the influence one vote can make on your community. Our shared future is decided by those who make use of this right and the choices they make to place someone in leadership.

Jim is in middle school and he who looks forward to voting one day. He is learning about the stock market and other financial things in school. Jim is beginning to see the connection between political and economic decisions. He wonders, “What were they thinking! Didn’t they realize what could happen if good choices were not made when voting?” He can’t wait to cast a vote in a future election. He wants to make changes in his community. He understands that his vote creates success for himself and others. Will you vote to help reach more like Jim?

You, too, understand the power knowledge has on political decisions and economic stability. The role of educating the Jims in our community with financial literacy is one that the Ohio Economic Forum takes seriously. Your vote to support the Ohio Economic Forum can raise financial literacy scores by 16% for students in middle school.

Since our founding in 1910, we depend on you, businesses, community and higher education leaders and foundations to bring financial literacy to the future of our community – K-12 students.
Thank you for making an investment in the Ohio Economic Forum. You recognize the importance of financial literacy. You understand the impact this has on your community. You understand the impact it has on Jim. We value your trust in the Ohio Economic Forum to provide financial literacy to teachers and students.

Your vote to support the Ohio Economic Forum will ensure that Jim continues to get the education he needs in economic and financial principles to use his power of knowledge to make important political decisions.

Sincerely,

President and CEO

P.S. The Ohio Economic Forum impacts more than 1000 teachers and influences more than 100,000 students like Jim across Ohio.

 
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So that’s the letter.

It’s time for a little operation, and the Doctor is IN!

There is no urgency in this letter.

The first paragraph is not how people talk.

“Recently, our nation and communities participated in one of the most fundamental rights of a free society – voting. You understand the influence one vote can make on your community. Our shared future is decided by those who make use of this right and the choices they make to place someone in leadership.”

Scalpel! Strike this.

Then they start talking about Jim right after this paragraph and it doesn’t make sense. His story is poorly written.

“Jim is in middle school and he who looks forward to voting one day. He is learning about the stock market and other financial things in school. Jim is beginning to see the connection between political and economic decisions. He wonders, “What were they thinking! Didn’t they realize what could happen if good choices were not made when voting?” He can’t wait to cast a vote in a future election. He wants to make changes in his community. He understands that his vote creates success for himself and others. Will you vote to help reach more like Jim?”

The urgency comes from what happens when the Ohio Economic Forum is NOT there.

Does Jim end up penniless and sick in his final years?

Is Susie hounded by debt collectors because she never learned how to balance her checkbook or make a budget?

THAT creates urgency.

In sales we call this features versus benefits. You’re selling features, not benefits.

What is the TRUE benefit of Ohio Economic Forum?

the letter is all over the place.

It doesn’t flow.

This appeal letter is pointless.

pointless-center-appeal-letter

It’s not pointless because it has no point. It’s pointless because it has no center.

 

Can it be saved?

What if we…

dropped the voting angle, maybe ask the people who are reading, “remember when you first started to learn about financial literacy? What was that like for you?”

Ask them to remember how financial literacy has impacted their OWN lives, and then ask them if they’d like to give the gift of knowledge to others.

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