5 ultimate copy hacks: how to make your DM grab attention

Joe Nicholson By Joe Nicholson

Ever wondered how to make a DM campaign really stand out?

Look no further – here’s five of our failsafe copy hacks which transform the driest of DMs into appeals that move your supporters to donate.

1. Write for how people read.

Truth is, people rarely read letters from start to finish in a linear way – no matter how good your copy.

But don’t despair!

By considering where your reader’s eye will go when they first open your letter, you’ll capture their attention effectively – and make your case succinctly.

You’re probably wondering how on earth you can know how people read in print. Happily, there’s eye-tracking, which we got excited about a year or so ago.


But without getting too technical, bear this in mind: use underlining and bold to bring your reader’s eye to key information – and make sure these sections include your fundraising ask.

2. The P.S. is not an afterthought.

Did you know nearly 80% of people read the P.S. on a letter before anything else?

Pretty important, right? That’s why we always recommend putting a powerful fundraising ask in the P.S., so that the majority of readers get your key message ASAP.

3. Personalise it.

Quite simply, a personal message attracts attention – while generic writing goes in the recycling.

Before putting pen to paper, consider: what do you know about your audience? Think specifics: how have they supported your cause in the past, how do they expect to hear from you, and how will they respond?

Make sure your writing acknowledges your reader’s personal relationship with the charity and thanks them for their past support.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for money.

People expect charities to fundraise! Research also shows that people need to be asked several times before they’ll say ‘yes’.

That’s why your DM should ask for a donation explicitly, boldly and several times.

Plus, by personalising your ask – requesting a bespoke amount from your reader – you’ll get better results. This draws on anchoring, a principle from behavioural economics, which tells us that the first figure people see informs their decision-making. By giving your reader a figure, they’ll be more likely to give – and the average gift from your mailing list will be higher.


5. Speak how you want to be spoken to!

We could talk for hours about tone of voice. But as a guiding principle, remember this: authentic, personal voices make people respond.

Consider using an eyewitness of your charity’s work as your letter’s signatory.

Use informal, colloquial language – speak to your reader as an informed friend.

Encourage an emotional response, because your reader’s decision to give is based on emotion rather than reason.

Of course, these five techniques are just part of what makes a successful DM pack. You need a compelling proposition and story to guarantee you’ll make readers respond. Luckily, we’ve got years of experience delivering stand-out campaigns. Why not get in touch today and see how we can help you?

Joe Nicholson

Joe Nicholson

Copywriter It took us a while to find the right copywriter to add to our team. But we knew Joe was the one straight away. As a writer, he’s both incisive and blessed with the ability to paint vivid images with words. We think that’s the perfect blend for an agency like ours…