Grammar Day: One grammar rule for fundraising

Today is National Grammar Day, so here’s a little grammar help for your fundraising:

Professor Jeff’s Fundraising Grammar Syllogism

In fundraising…

  • It’s better to sound friendly and colloquial than pedantic.
  • It’s also better to be correct than incorrect.
  • Therefore, if you find yourself with a passage that’s forcing you to choose between friendly and correct, rewrite the passage to avoid the conflict.

Example: Say you find that you’ve written this sentence: Whomever you help, you’ll make all the difference in the world.

Correct, but sounds pedantic and off-putting. The easy change would be: Whoever you help, you’ll make all the difference in the world.

Sounds a little better, but it’s now incorrect. (It’s incorrect in a way most readers wouldn’t notice or care about. But still — incorrect.)

The advanced fundraising writer will strike the whole sentence and start over. Something like: When you send your gift, you’ll know in your heart that you helped someone in need. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Fundraising Ninja Superhint: Awkward sentences can almost always be fixed by cutting them into two (or more) sentences.


Comments

2 responses to “Grammar Day: One grammar rule for fundraising”

  1. Claire Mawdsley Avatar
    Claire Mawdsley

    Using ‘and’ at the start of a sentence is also incorrect, although it is used frequently by many copywriters. Traditionally donors tend to be in the older demographic and will know this is incorrect.

  2. Claire Mawdsley Avatar
    Claire Mawdsley

    Using ‘and’ at the start of a sentence is also incorrect, although it is used frequently by many copywriters. Traditionally donors tend to be in the older demographic and will know this is incorrect.

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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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