5 secrets old-pro fundraisers rely on to craft their best work

Here are some old copywriting tricks that can help you write better, stronger fundraising. These are used by fundraising writers with decades of experience under their belts. They can work for you too:

  1. Write the reply coupon (or donation page) first. Knowing exactly where everything is pointing helps you stay on task and avoid rabbit trails as you write.
  2. Remove nearly all adverbs and most adjectives. Most modifiers are lazy short-cuts that make you feel you’ve said something powerful when all you’ve created is more likely self-evident hype. Taking out the modifiers forces you to do what your ought to do: Write with nouns and verbs.
  3. Get in the mood. It helps if you feel the way you want to reader to feel. Get into the reader’s head. Try to feel that pitch of emotion that moves her to take action. (Seasonal hint: When you’re writing Christmas fundraising, listen to Christmas music — soupy, old-time sentimental stuff, like Bing Crosby. Works wonders to get you in the mood!)
  4. Get out of the mood. It also helps to go into pure analytical mode about your writing. Think like Mr. Spock, eliminating your own feelings so you can be purely objective so you can see your work clearly.
  5. Read out loud. You can eliminate so much hard-to-read writing by doing this. If you stumble while reading out loud, you have stumbly copy in front of you. This helps you pinpoint the problems spots and fix them.


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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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