The best use of punctuation for fundraisers

I’m about to say some extremely geeky stuff. I’m a former English teacher. You’ve been warned.


When it comes to punctuation, the more the better. That’s right. Punctuation is very good. It makes copy easier to read. Contrary to what you may have been told, sprinkle those little marks into your copy with abandon.



  • Lots of periods means you’re using short sentences. Very good. Very readable.
  • Informal marks — dashes and ellipses — can bring both clarity and forward motion to your copy …
  • Commas are your friend. They open up space in the sentence, making it less dense. By all means, use series commas. They eliminate certain kinds of ambiguity, such as this famous but apparently apocryphal example of a hapless libertarian author whose book was Dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God.
  • Exclamation marks are great too! But they lose power if you use them all the time! And multiple exclamation marks can trigger spam filters in email!!!
  • The only toxic punctuation mark, in my book, is the semicolon; it signifies a stand-offish erudition; most people don’t know how to use or interpret semicolons. Just use a period and start a new sentence.


Comments

6 responses to “The best use of punctuation for fundraisers”

  1. Jeff, I’ve been trying to follow the trend of less (or is it fewer?) (smile) punctuation marks. And you make a good case for more. Thank you.

  2. Jeff, I’ve been trying to follow the trend of less (or is it fewer?) (smile) punctuation marks. And you make a good case for more. Thank you.

  3. Ah…very nice. I love punctuation. I don’t always get it right, but I try hard. I keep a copy of “Woe Is I,” by Patricia O’Conner, near my computer at all times

  4. Ah…very nice. I love punctuation. I don’t always get it right, but I try hard. I keep a copy of “Woe Is I,” by Patricia O’Conner, near my computer at all times

  5. Please don’t forget the humble space. I was taught to leave three spaces after a full stop and two after a semi-colon. It makes a paragraph much easier to read.

  6. Please don’t forget the humble space. I was taught to leave three spaces after a full stop and two after a semi-colon. It makes a paragraph much easier to read.

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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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