Inclusive communications success stories

Want to know what can happen to your fundraising when you make it more inclusive?

Good things.

In my experience, revenue jumps 30% to 50% — and sometimes quite a lot more. I give a wide range because improvements in readability are rarely the only improvements being made. And the amount of change varies a lot, from slight to massive.

We’ve been looking at some powerful material from the book <I>Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law</I> by Joseph Kimble. It has a large section of examples of the types of things that happen when plain language is put to work for various organizations. Alas, none of the examples are from fundraising, but you can expect similar results to these:

  • An IRS form letter to business taxpayers requesting specific action got a 15% response rate (to an IRS directive!). After it was simplified for reading comprehension the response rate improved to 85%
  • The UK Royal Mail had a form for redirecting mail that had an 87% error rate when customers filled it out. It cost £10,000 a week to reprocess incorrect forms and deal with complaints. After the form was simplified, error rate dropped dramatically, and the Royal Mail saved £500,000 in the first nine months alone.
  • The Cleveland Clinic simplified a billing statement. Payments to the statement increased by 80%, bringing in an additional $1 million every month.
  • The US IRS revised a tax form for the sale of a house. For the old form, only 10% of taxpayers completed it without significant errors. With the new form, taxpayers completed it successfully 55% of the time.

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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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