Ladder of Effectiveness, pt. 2

I mentioned in a previous post that the ladder of effectiveness is more personal at the top, less personal at the bottom. The ladder gives us a way to predict how effective a particular method of appealing for financial support can be. I thought you might want to see the whole ladder, so here it is, with the most effective methods on the top. After the method, I’ve listed two ways that each can be done. The first is more effective than the second.

  • Personal Face-to-Face – two people visit; one person visits
  • *Personal Letter – with follow-up phone call; without follow-up phone call
  • *Personal Telephone – with follow-up letter; without follow-up letter
  • *Personalized Letter – with personal (hand-written) PS; without personal PS
  • *Telephone Solicitation –
  • Impersonal/Direct Mail – with PS; without PS
  • **Special Events/Benefits – see below
  • **General Awareness – see below

*The difference between personal and personalized. Personal means you hand-wrote on the letter or called the prospect yourself. Personalized means you included an inside address and a correct salutation in a letter, for example. Another way to look at this — personal is a one-off unique product, whereas personalized is mass-produced though unique.

**These last two deserve special mention. I dislike both of these and generally caution against them, except in very special cases. Don’t depend on events or newspaper articles to raise money. It won’t work.