Using Photos in Appeals to Better Resonate with Donors

Posted on 04/16/2014

Every organization has its story to tell. The problem is that we live in a time famine. Today, people are busier than ever and getting their attention isn’t easy. So, when we finally do, we need to be able to tell our story in a way that’s compelling and succinct.

The Annual Fund staff at Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ discovered this on their own. After years of using traditional black-on-white letters, they realized that their annual fund appeals required a new approach. “Our alumni weren’t responding at the levels we needed,” says Liz Dixon-Eversole, Director of the Peddie Fund. “We had to find a way to reconnect them, remind them about the school’s great stories, and demonstrate the impact of their support.”

Peddie Old Bike Image

To achieve this, Peddie decided to bring their appeals to life with more creative, image-centric designs and formats. Their new appeal strategy focused on employing imagery that would resonate with each donor. Using variable-data printing technology, Peddie’s appeals incorporated photos that were specific to class years, athletic interests, clubs and other personalized information that was readily available via their database.

The strategy paid off. Peddie saw an immediate impact in their first year with total dollars raised through direct mail increasing by 50%. “This wasn’t a one-time idea, it was a long-term plan,” said Dixon-Eversole. “We’ve continued to make images and personalized data a central part of our annual giving strategy and, as a result, we’ve seen a consistent increase in alumni response over the past several years.”

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. At Peddie, however, a good image might just be worth a whole lot more.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Storytelling in Annual Giving.

Peddie New Bike Image


AGN Members receive unlimited access to our resources, discounts, and other benefits. Click here to learn more.