“One of the hardest things to see clearly is the quality of your own writing. We confuse the quality of the ideas, the amount of sweat we put into it, and how fond we are of it with actual quality. Which is one explanation of why so much fundraising copy out there is so bad. Here’s some outside help, from Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog: 10 Signs Your Writing Might Stink & How to Fix It. These are signposts that should clue you in that there’s a problem you can’t see:
* You are cutting and pasting grant application text into your newsletters.
* You can play Nonprofit Buzzword Bingo with yourself.
* You find yourself skimming your own writing.
* Your boss takes forever to get comments back to you.
* The article you just wrote could have been written ten years ago.
* You aren’t really sure who is on your mailing list.
* You refer to yourself as ‘the association,’ ‘the council,’ or by your organization’s name.
* When reading your writing out loud, you can’t get to the end of most sentences without taking a breath.
* You think asking readers to do something is being too pushy.
* You try to cover everything, just in case this is the only thing they’ll read.
If your copy is stinky, it’s costing you revenue. It’s worth sniffing out.”
— Oct. 27, “Your guide to fragrant fundraising copy” posted by Jeff Brooks on his Donor Power Blog.