Great Donor Letter Opening Lines

By Impact Team

August 22, 2013

What if reading this blog post would save your life?

See, we told you that opening lines were important! Although our above claim is false (this blog post has no potential to save your life), it could potentially save the life of your direct mail campaign!

Opening lines are so important because it is your first (and sometimes only) chance to get your donor engaged enough to keep reading about your mission and goals so they will ultimately take action by donating.

Here at Impact, to find those shining star opening lines, we like to follow the famous advice Roland Kuniholm once gave: take your first three paragraphs of any direct mail piece and just throw them out. Now you’re getting to the good stuff! Often times it takes a little while for us writers to heat up, but you don’t want to bury that bang in your third paragraph. If you haven’t grabbed your readers attention, chances are, they won’t even get to your second paragraph!

Here are some examples of great opening lines from our archives that we are especially fond of:

Imagine having to tell a nine-year-old child that from now on they will be working ten hours a day in the family business — instead of starting the fourth grade. 

It all started when a handful of passionate lawyers decided to fight back. 

I know it’s hard to imagine taking your hard-earned money and burying it in the ground. 

Joan Stein is so tiny that her head can’t be seen over the music stand of the baby grand in the community room.

 “Pray with your feet.”

You are one of my heroes! 

And here’s one we wish we could lay claim to but can’t:

“Is my hair going to fall out?”  

(from a letter for Children’s National Medical Center, written by Tom Gaffne)

Do you have any great examples of opening lines?  We’d love to hear them, so please comment.  Thanks.

– Posted by Amanda Marcucci

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