Checklist: Does your fundraising writing suck?

Maybe your fundraising doesn’t work like it should because it sucks.

Here’s a quick checklist of common sucky qualities in fundraising. Does your fundraising have these things?

  • Pretentious, over-formal language that doesn’t connect with your donor.
  • Empty superlatives like “cutting-edge” and “innovative.”
  • Lack of a clear “what’s in it for me” for your donors; it’s based on “educating” your poor, ignorant donors, as if charitable giving were entirely am intellectual proposition.
  • Reliance on jargon and insider talk.
  • Shortage of the word “you.” It’s “we, we, we,” all the way home.
  • Big numbers.
  • Call to action (“give”) is hidden, indirect, passive, or non-existent.
  • Long words, long sentences, long paragraphs.

Don’t let your copy suck. It’s a waste of time, doesn’t work, and it’s rude to donors.


Comments

2 responses to “Checklist: Does your fundraising writing suck?”

  1. Annie Hancock Avatar
    Annie Hancock

    In your third bullet point toward the end of the sentence you have “am” instead of “an.” Sorry to be that person! I’ve really enjoyed receiving your blogs–makes a person think!

  2. Annie Hancock Avatar
    Annie Hancock

    In your third bullet point toward the end of the sentence you have “am” instead of “an.” Sorry to be that person! I’ve really enjoyed receiving your blogs–makes a person think!

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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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