Seven more ways to write better fundraising copy

Here’s good copywriting advice from the Word Wealth blog: 7 Time Tested Tips for Making Your Advertising Work. Most of these make as much sense in fundraising as they do in advertising:


  1. Tell a story.
  2. Use cliches.
  3. Never write any marketing pieces if you do not believe in what it is you are selling or trying to accomplish.
  4. Don’t try and be cute or sophisticated.
  5. Write to a grade 7 reading level.
  6. Pretend you are sitting around a fire with one of your best friends.
  7. Always use real postage stamps on your envelopes – never metered mail.

On #5: I’d aim even lower: 5th or 6th grade level. It’s not easy to achieve, but the readability bonus is high.

I can’t vouch for #7 in fundraising contexts; I’ve seen virtually every type of postage treatment win in various tests.


Comments

6 responses to “Seven more ways to write better fundraising copy”

  1. Really, use cliches?
    Are you SURE?
    I mean, I know it’s good to pull at heartstrings, to go the extra mile, to give 110% for a cause, but when I read cliches in fundraising letters, I GROAN inwardly. And not just because I was a poetry major. I do think that we can accomplish more if we assume more intelligence on the part of the reader, and if we give them more than they ask for.
    Be TRANSPARENT in your fundraising letters.
    Say, here’s how much we’ve got
    Here’s how much we need to raise,
    Here’s what we’re using it for.
    Then show a picture.
    I agree with the real stamps, but the envelope should be eyecatching too.
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  2. Really, use cliches?
    Are you SURE?
    I mean, I know it’s good to pull at heartstrings, to go the extra mile, to give 110% for a cause, but when I read cliches in fundraising letters, I GROAN inwardly. And not just because I was a poetry major. I do think that we can accomplish more if we assume more intelligence on the part of the reader, and if we give them more than they ask for.
    Be TRANSPARENT in your fundraising letters.
    Say, here’s how much we’ve got
    Here’s how much we need to raise,
    Here’s what we’re using it for.
    Then show a picture.
    I agree with the real stamps, but the envelope should be eyecatching too.
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  3. I love this topic. Thanking donors can be both an art and a science. I believe it deserves attention to the small details. Most especially the word choices & personalized nature of the acknowledgement as well as how else the letter is supported with a phone call, email communication, or something that allows that donor to stand out in the crowd like a special ribbon on their name tag at a fundraising event.

  4. I love this topic. Thanking donors can be both an art and a science. I believe it deserves attention to the small details. Most especially the word choices & personalized nature of the acknowledgement as well as how else the letter is supported with a phone call, email communication, or something that allows that donor to stand out in the crowd like a special ribbon on their name tag at a fundraising event.

  5. I agree wildwomen!
    Rose

  6. I agree wildwomen!
    Rose

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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