Background: The monies donated by individual donors to Healthy Minds Canada (HMC), a national charitable organization, have been decreasing since 2006. This Major Research Paper provides HMC with communication strategies to increase its funding. The strategies are based on the literature and on best practices. The literature review explores rhetoric as a method to appeal to donors. Other strategies that are examined include appeal letters, websites, and other communications such as providing donors with communication options and thanking donors. In addition, a comparative analysis is conducted between HMC and two other organizations, the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada (TSFC) and Amyotrophic Lateral Scleroses Ontario (ALS Ontario).
Conclusions: The analysis of rhetorical appeals determined that communications with donors should apply all three methods of Aristotle’s rhetorical theory of persuasion. These modes include the appeal to emotions (pathos), the appeal to reason (logos), and the appeal of personality or character (ethos). The exploration of appeal letters showed that HMC should thank donors for past or anticipated support, conclude with pleasantries, use negatively framed local mental health statistics, and include positive and moving stories. Moreover, images should be included where possible. Many recommendations are made for HMC’s website but in particular, engaging in social media is emphasized. Furthermore, in all communications to individual donors, HMC should provide these supporters with choices to receive direct mail or electronic mail, and offer opt-out options. Personal accounts can also be set up on HMC’s website that allow donors to select their communication preferences. It is also suggested that there be four mail-outs per year, the newsletter be recommenced, and thank-you letters be sent out within 24 hours of receiving a donation. Lastly, it is recommended that HMC hire another full-time employee to help with its donor communications.