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The Best E-Appeal I’ve Seen This Year

On Friday, Agitator reader Charlie Orasin, Senior VP for Marketing and Constituency Development at Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund [1] 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 [2].

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 [3].


If you want to study this in more detail click here to see the video [4] 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.

2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "The Best E-Appeal I’ve Seen This Year"

#1 Comment By bobroth On September 16, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

I’ve re-posted (viral, right?) some of your thoughts on my blog and added a quick evaluation of why this is so successful…

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund has done well to tell their story:

1. GET ATTENTION: The headline does a good job of that, “Put Palin’s Awful Wolf-Killing Record on Television.”

2. STIMULATE EMOTION: The word “killing” always draws emotion. Killing animals even draws more ire. Their word selection is excellent: gunning, brutal, needless, indisputable.

3. REINFORCE WITH REASON: They use bullets (pun intended) to cover exactly why this is necessary. The bullets (pun intended) are the logical alibi for the emotional reaction that they’ve already created within the viewer. The bullets also reiterate what is said in the video.

4. CALL TO ACTION: It’s simple and you can do it NOW. Now is always important and you’d be amazed at how many entities forget to ask for what they want. In this case, donate NOW!

I encourage you to participate in the conversation at:

#2 Comment By frank On September 17, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

This is very nice to see. thank you for pdf’ing and sharing.

The industry i work in is all about nonprofits … so seeing great examples like this email is always useful.