Authentic fundraising beats smoothly professional corporate-looking fundraising every time. It seems donors would rather support something real than something beautiful.
The Grizzard Blog notes this at Is your fundraising rooted in the particular?
Instead of fancy-pants symbolism and high-end design, donors respond to messages that are odd, home-made, very specific, and sometimes containing the unexpected:
Among people experienced in direct mail fundraising, it's kind of a joke that often it's the mail pieces with printing errors or terrible photography that actually raise the most money. I wonder if part of the reason is that they look authentic, gritty, and stand out in the sea of lookalike fundraising.
I don't think I can openly advise you to make mistakes on purpose, but I can advise you to make your stuff look more real than slick. And to write in a colloquial, simple, clear style, not a heightened academic or literary one.
It always works better. Remember, the purpose it to motivate donors to action, not to pad your portfolio or win awards.