Category: Writing

  • 5 powerful writing tips from Narnia

    Here are some great writing tips from a great writer: C. S. Lewis. With my commentary on how the tips can apply in fundraising writing. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else. Two ways to avoid this mistake:…

  • Here’s a great resource for writing clearly

    There’s a force for good out there called Plain Language. It’s a worldwide movement for clear and easy-to-read writing. And, in the US, it’s the law for federal documents, as required by the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Some other governments around the world have taken steps toward plain language, including the European Union. Here’s…

  • 4 weird copywriting cheats for fundraising writers

    In your first draft of any fundraising piece you write include the word you (your, yours, you’re, etc.) in EVERY SENTENCE. Don’t worry that some of those sentences or sentence combinations may be awkward. You can revise them later. But I can guarantee that with you in every sentence, the psychological core of your draft…

  • Messy first drafts are great!

    Take a look at this page. It’s an early draft of chapter 5 of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It’s a mess! The Brothers Karamazov is decidedly not a mess. It’s one of the greatest novels ever written. I urge you to read it. Every piece of effective writing goes through a “mess” stage.…

  • 5 easy ways to raise more money now

    Here’s a blog post from the Better Fundraising Blog that will help you raise more money on your next project: Top 5 Appeal Tips: The only good news in an appeal should be that the donor’s gift today will help. Future good news, not past. Yes, you have done and are doing great work. But…

  • Your inner editor is crushing your writing; here’s how to stop it

    I know exactly what’s keeping you from being the best writer you can be. I know because it’s the same for every writer I’ve ever known. Including myself. The top barrier to the best writing you have in you is this: You are trying to write and edit at the same time. And that makes…

  • How verbs can power your fundraising writing

    Maybe you’ve heard the advice: Write with nouns and verbs. It’s good advice for fundraising too. Especially the verbs part. Here’s a helpful post about this very basic (but oddly difficult) piece of writing advice from Publication Coach at Do strong verbs power your writing? The challenge is this: “Weak” verbs are necessary to hold…

  • Why fundraisers want to use jargon — and why we shouldn’t

    Let me introduce you to a very useful term: Wat/San. In the international relief and development sector, it means “water and sanitation programs.” It’s useful because water and sanitation programs are common and various. Having a short way of referring to them speeds up and smooths out a lot of communications. A few years ago,…

  • Do you care about how many spaces are between sentences?

    Studies show that two spaces after a period is more readable than one. Here’s a report on a study in The Atlantic, at The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period. Money quote: … there was an increase in reading speed of 3% when reading text with two spaces following periods, as compared to…

  • I’m a writer, not a whiteboard!

    “I’ll know it when I see it.” If you’re a professional writer and hear that, your blood runs cold. Because it really means, “I don’t have time to think about it, and I have no respect for your time.” Put on a blindfold and start throwing darts. We’ll eventually hit the middle of the dartboard!…