Writing for 'Small Spaces'
In December, Bethesda, Md.-based Network for Good gave fundraisers a holiday present — a free e-book.
"Big Impact in Small Places: 9 Ways to Write Better Email Subject Lines, Headlines, Tweets and Facebook Updates" by Kivi Leroux Miller is an 18-page work filled with punchy bits of advice about how fundraisers can be pithy.
FundRaising Success: Why did you choose this book-publishing format?
Kivi Leroux Miller: Both Network for Good and I love the e-book format because it allows us to quickly and easily get much-needed inform ation and guidance out to nonprofits on the issues they are struggling with today. Our field is changing fast, especially with online marketing and fundraising, so e-books are a great way to respond to those changes in a very timely way.
FS: What prompted the creation of this book?
KLM: Katya Andresen at Network for Good and I like to share notes on what we see small nonprofits doing well and not so well, because those are the groups we both care most about helping. Over lunch one day, we talked about how it seemed like many nonprofits were struggling with how to communicate in little spaces, whether e-mail subject lines or tweets or Facebook updates. There's a lot of potential power in those little spaces, and yet we both noticed that nonprofits weren't really taking advantage of it. Even though there are some big differences between e-mail subject lines and Twitter, for example, there are some strong similarities, too. So we thought that kind of writing deserved its own e-book.
FS: How does this book address challenges fundraisers are seeing in this economy?
KLM: Everyone wants their message to cut through the clutter. To do that effectively, your messages really need to pop out for people. We are all so busy that most of us do much more skimming than reading these days. There's a real art to writing powerfully in small spaces for those skimmers, and we wanted to share some of our favorite tips for how to do it well.
FS: How does the book deal with the changing face of fundraising — how it's changed over time?
KLM: It's hard to find a nonprofit that wouldn't benefit from integrating good e-mail and social media into their fundraising campaigns. But these are still relatively new communications tools, and we are all still learning the best ways to use them. We hope that e-books like this one help nonprofits take one more step down the path toward fully integrated marketing and fundraising campaigns that engage their supporters in multiple ways, wherever they are.
FS: How well is this book being received?
KLM: The feedback on the book has been wonderful. It's been downloaded about 6,000 times in a little over a month.
FS: How will fundraisers be able to connect with this book?
KLM: With everything I write, I try to give both a big-picture perspective for why a nonprofit needs to think about the issue, as well as very clear and pragmatic suggestions for what to do about it. I also try to write in a friendly, supportive tone. I think nonprofit marketing and fundraising should be fun, and that's one of the reasons I like to partner with Network for Good on e-books. They have a good sense of humor and appreciate a little levity, like I do. FS