On Friday, Agitator reader Charlie Orasin, Senior VP for Marketing and Constituency Development at Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund sent us what has to be the best e-appeal I’ve seen this year.

Designed to raise money to put a shocking video of what Defenders calls “Sarah Palin’s Wolf-killing Record” on TV, this exemplary appeal is worth careful study. It’s masterpiece of the genre.

Here’s why.

First, take an overview look at this appeal by clicking here.

The copy and layout quickly and effectively make the case for action and support letting the reader know that nearly 70,000 ‘potential voters’ have watched the video, but that it’s also been picked up by CNN and other news organizations. The unmistakable message to the reader: “the bandwagon is rolling, get on board.”

The “ask” or “offer” is clear and urgent. Defenders’ Action Fund needs to raise $100,000 by September 17th to run a TV ad to get the word out on Sarah Palin and her proposl to reward “wolf killers” with a bounty of $150 for each dead wolf or bear.

To reinforce the horror of the situation the copy contains an eye-stopping admonition:

“Warning: This television ad –like the governor’s support for this brutal practice –is disturbing.”

Not only is the copy explicit and urgent, it leaves no doubt about what is expected of the reader –“Please donate $40 or whatever you can afford to help us spread the word.” And note, the P.S. reinforcing the urgency of giving right now – and, offering the reader an offline option of contributing by calling an 800 number.

BUT… what really makes this appeal a winner is the sidebar array of graphics and summary information that leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind this organization knows what it’s doing and they’ll spend your money effectively.

Now zoom in and take a closer look at the sidebar array by clicking here.


  • Clickable video so reader can not only see the clip firsthand, bolstered by the detailed copy underneath the sceen that the ad for which Defenders is seeking money will run in Ohio and support wildlife-saving efforts around the nation.
  • A clear, specific ask detailing what different levels will achieve.
  • A bold, graphic link to the giving page.
  • And, icing on the cake, a graph depicting number of views this video has had on YouTube.

If you want to study this in more detail click here to see the video and also get a good look at the donation page.

Best of all, the numbers bear out our analysis of Defenders’ technique … about 13,000 responders so far have given $560K, at a $43 average gift.

Charlie, you deserve a raise!


P.S. And if you’re a fundraiser, which would you bet your money on, this video or yesterday’s video Tom discussed featuring Alicia Keyes? Obviously her’s aims to capture new prospects, while Charlie’s targets his house file (with hopes for viral dissemination). Which video would you expect to move the most people to action?

P.P.S. It’s always nice to be vindicated in your prognosis.    Most of us consultants prefer to already know the results and then tell you how the effort did.  Fact is, I wrote the post above, including the subject line ( “The Best E-Appeal I’ve Seen This Year”)  on Saturday afternoon.  This morning (Monday)  I contacted Charlie to see how the campaign was going. “Terrific” would be an understatement. As of 12:30 p.m. Monday the e-appeal had raised $603K–six times the goal!  That’s 13,000 + donations from this appeal.

So bountiful the response that now, according to Charlie,  the Defenders’ Action Fund is going into additional states to buy more time.  No wonder he told me, “We’ve been extraordinarily pleased and grateful….”  Now, that’s an understatement.

This article was posted in: Communications, Copywriting / creative, Online fundraising and marketing.
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