The secret for writing on target

Here’s a great quote by British author C.S. Lewis:

In letter writing one ought to know when and where the other person reads, as it makes more of a semblance to real conversation.

Lewis wasn’t talking about direct mail, but about real letters between one person and another. (Remember that?)

But his advice is good for those of us who write to donors: Always have a mental picture of the person you’re writing to. That’s right — one person. You’re never writing to a large audience. The person you visualize should be “demographically correct” — most likely an elderly woman.

Imagine what she thinks and believes — not what you want her to think, but what she really does think.

Picture the context she’s reading your message in. A crowded in-box? A stack of direct mail?

These mental pictures can help you communicate more clearly and realistically. They help you get outside yourself so you don’t create messages aimed at you instead of your real donor.

Try it. It works.


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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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About the blogger

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.