6 ways to make sure you’re talking to donors in their own language

One common way fundraising messages fail to connect with donors (and thus fail to raise much money) is they don’t use the language donors use. These messages require the donors to “translate” what we say. And guess: Few of them will bother to do so.

Here’s a post from the Bloomerang Blog, Are You Speaking The Same Language As Your Donors? that will help you use donor language:

  1. Read Your Stuff Out Loud. Often, your ear catches unnatural and awkward language that your eye misses. This is great step to include in any writing process.
  2. Use A Readability Tool. Keep your reading ease level at 7th grade or lower. My go-to is the wonderful (and free) Hemingway Editor.
  3. Question Every Word. Especially the ones you really like.
  4. Ignore Your Boss. Easier said than done, but unless you’ve got a truly unusual boss, pleasing her is sure to produce weak fundraising!
  5. Picture Someone Real. Would you say this to your own mother?
  6. Pick Up The Phone Or Meet Face-To-Face. You’d be amazed what you can learn from talking to donors. They don’t know about fundraising, but listen to how they talk about your organization and your work.


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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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