A Blast From the Past: 25 Tips for Better Fundraising Copy (January 2010)
FundRaising Success published its first issue in November 2003, which makes this our 10-year anniversary year. To celebrate, we'll be taking a look back at past issues throughout the year.
Not every one is easy to do, but all of them can improve your fundraising results.
1. Write the call to action before you do anything else. It's very un-Zen to say it, but fundraising is more about the destination than the journey. You're going to arrive a lot more successfully when you know exactly where you're going.
2. Think of 25 reasons why a donor should give to you. Then, get rid of all the reasons that are about you and not the donor.
3. Ask, "How would The National Enquirer write this?" The Enquirer knows the value of the amazing, the lurid, the outrageous, the unexpected — and it milks it. Are you doing that, or are you imitating "respectable" journalism, purposely keeping it as colorless and purely factual as possible? Guess which approach gets more readership — and raises more funds.
4. Ignore your brand guidelines. Your brand guidelines are meant to sharpen and define your message and make it consistent. But there's a fatal flaw: The guidelines are all about you, not about your donors. They're all about self-?focused communication, and that will hurt your fundraising. How can I say that, never having seen your brand guidelines? I've read a lot of nonprofit brand documents and not yet have seen one that's nontoxic to fundraising.
5. Show, don't tell. You've heard this in every creative-writing class you've ever taken. It's good advice. It's easy to assert that something is sad, or great, or special, or cutting-edge. It's more persuasive to give the facts that add up to those things.