The good-copy practice that makes your fundraising copy bad

How hard do you work to make your fundraising copy “flow”? In my experience, too hard. Flow is considered a hallmark of good writing in many quarters. It’s that sense of smooth progression from one topic to the next, with easy, almost unnoticeable transitions.

As the Happy Donors blog notes, it’s not really what you want in fundraising copy: The #1 Secret to Writing Fundraising Letters that Maximize Results. Flow is usually exactly what you don’t want in fundraising. Here’s why:

Readers will pick up the four page letter, look at their name in the salutation, flip over to the P.S., then shuffle the letter around in their hands, maybe start reading here, maybe start reading someplace else, jump around a bit, and then, after this ragged scanning, MAYBE start reading at the beginning.

If that’s true (and it is), flowing copy is a pretty bad idea. It won’t communicate as clearly as choppy, jumpy, repetitive copy.

Write your fundraising copy so readers can start anywhere and quickly get the point and an ask. Don’t have paragraphs that make no sense without the paragraphs before them — you can’t be sure your reader will see them in the order you put them.

Don’t waste your time on flow. It’ll make your copy less effective.


Comments

4 responses to “The good-copy practice that makes your fundraising copy bad”

  1. Counter-intuitive, but wise!

  2. Counter-intuitive, but wise!

  3. Leslie Rivera Avatar
    Leslie Rivera

    Hi Jeff,
    May I have permission to repost this article?
    Thanks,
    Leslie Rivera

  4. Leslie Rivera Avatar
    Leslie Rivera

    Hi Jeff,
    May I have permission to repost this article?
    Thanks,
    Leslie Rivera

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

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.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

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.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

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.

Recent Comments

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.

Blog Roll

someone’s blog