6 Ways to Give Your Readers a Helpful Hand
Make it fit the signature
It’s fortunate that so many letter signers have illegible scrawls for signatures. That gives you a little more leeway in trying to find a font that looks like your signer. But you still need to match, not just the style but the weight, the slant, the curve and even the gender to meet the reader’s expectations. In her mind at least, the male CEO of a camping and hunting trade association is going to have a hand that looks more like Cataloona than Giddyup Std.
Use it uniformly and consistently
This is another detail that gets overlooked more than you might think. Once you’ve established a “hand” for your letter signer, don’t forget which one it is! Put it on the list of standard operating procedures, and use it for that person every time. Donors (more so than prospects) are generally willing to suspend their disbelief up to a point with “handwriting,” but don’t press your luck.
Remember there are alternatives. Of course, if you can get the letter signer to actually write the notes, it’d be a wonderful world. But that doesn’t usually happen. There are plenty of vendors who can create alternative handwritten fonts to fit your needs, and autopen can be a great solution in certain circumstances. We often find someone, either in the client’s organization or ours, whose penmanship fits the need and have that person write the note.
he purpose of “handwriting” is to enhance your message by drawing your reader more deeply in and showing her what parts of the letter to read first. But if it becomes a distraction, or she becomes discouraged trying to decode a font like Charme, you’re defeating your own purpose.
Willis believes in expressive writing, exceptional fundraising, and exuberant living.
Willis Turner is the senior copywriter at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He was an experienced writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 20 years before making the switch to fundraising nearly 15 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, as well as collateral materials and communications, that get attention, tell emotional stories, and persuade people to take action or make a donation.