18 chapters of writing advice for fundraisers who mean it

Take a look at the contents of my new book, How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser’s Guide to Persuasive Writing:

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  1. Four Things That Don’t Work in Fundraising. Four approaches that everyone is tempted to do (I’ve tried them all) — and why they never work.
  2. Fundraising Writing Is Different. How fundraising differs from other common writing disciplines.
  3. Be SURE about Your Writing. Simple. Urgent. Repetitive. Emotional.
  4. The Call to Action. What you want donors to do is the single most important thing to focus on in fundraising.
  5. The Magic Words. There’s a good-magic word and an evil-magic word in fundraising. What do you think they are?
  6. The Sound of Your Writing. Persuasive writing sounds good. Simple tricks for making your writing pleasant to the ear.
  7. The Elements of a Well-Built Story. The elements that make your stories relevant and persuasive.
  8. Five Ways to Use Stories for Impact. Proven story structures that touch donors’ hearts.
  9. How Storytellers Tell Stories. What we can learn from natural storytellers.
  10. The Hero of the Story. Choose your hero carefully — that determines how effective it will be.
  11. Word Pictures. How to tell a story when you don’t have a story to tell.
  12. The Evil Cousin of Fundraising. The common approach to fundraising that turns off compassion and warns donors not to give.
  13. Wholehearted Fundraising: Meeting Donors’ Emotional Needs. The right mix of good news and bad news.
  14. What Good Is Guilt? Does guilt work in fundraising? (Hint: Mostly not.)
  15. Four Smart Assumptions about Donors. Donors are older than you, more emotional than you, paying attention than you want, and they love to give.
  16. Who’s Ready for the Ahern Rule? Tom Ahern has a secret weapon. Could you use that weapon too?
  17. Five Fundraising Traps and How to Avoid Them. Knowledge, the wrong audience, numbers, cleverness, and good news.
  18. Things I Wish I’d Learned Sooner. My writing life would have gone better and come together a lot quicker if I’d known these hard-earned truths sooner!

How to Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser’s Guide to Persuasive Writing, is available at:


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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.

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