In my 50 years of writing fundraising copy I’ve yet to hear of a donor saying, “Hey, that’s the same appeal you sent me last year!”

Yet too many fundraisers worry (often out loud and in endless meetings) and drive copywriters nuts with screwball briefings like “we need something new and different for this year-end appeal. We don’t want to do the same thing we did last year.”

No analysis of how last year’s appeal performed.  No understanding that continuity and consistency is at the heart of all human relationships.  In short, little thought —amplified by the command, “Do something new and different.”

Such utter nonsense.  Absolute idiocy.

So I was delighted to see once again —for the 22nd year in a row“The Christmas Love Stocking” from  D.E.L.T.A. Rescue  arrive in my email box.  And again, for the 22nd year in a row not a single word had been changed.  

The appeal is the masterstroke of my pal and colleague Jerry Huntsinger, the dean of direct response fundraising copy.  Leo Grillo, who runs the no-kill animal shelter and who clearly lives by the wise maxim of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, says it’s always the best mailing of the year.

You can access the complete appeal below.  Obviously, for online purposes — the addition of donate links and options to give by postal mail– some additions have been made.  Other than those changes the 2017 version is built on the  same copy, same art as the “Christmas Love Stocking of 1997.”



Here’s hoping the folks you work with have the good sense to understand the importance of consistency and continuity and the willilngness  to return to a winner. Over. And Over. And Over. And Over.

Do y0u recycle your perennial winners?


P.S.  Those not familiar with Jerry Huntsinger and his work will enjoy this piece from The New York Times that appeared the same year he created the “Christmas Love Stocking” mailing.

P.P.S. And for those interested in benefiting directly from Jerry’s wisdom I urge you to dig into his 86-part Tutorial which you can access FREE on SOFII.



This article was posted in: Communications, Copywriting / creative, Direct mail, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Integrated fundraising and marketing, Uncategorized.
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