The Case for Trust
But wait: Are we saying that getting others' opinions is a waste of time? Definitely not! Fresh eyes and objective feedback can have value.
So, how are we to resolve this dilemma? Some writers and artists pre-empt the problem by heading it off at the pass. There are copywriters who include a "verbatim" clause in their contracts, requiring the client to accept the copy exactly as written. The only changes allowed are for typos or incorrect facts.
It's understandable. Writers and artists who've seen their carefully crafted emotional triggers whittled down from a solid right jab to a tentative, gentle nudge can certainly see the attraction in such a clause.
On the other hand, a creative department that's honest with itself will admit it doesn't know everything. The writer, artist and client can all benefit from ongoing dialogue through the creative process.
That's why the feedback is important. But it's also why the feedback needs to be viewed in context and, most importantly, why it should not be the basis for any creative decisions.
As Ernest Hemingway said, "The best way to find out if you can trust people is to trust them."
So hire the best creative people you can find. But once you've made the investment, trust them to do what you're paying them for.
If they're not the right fit, you can be sure it will become evident soon enough.
But if you invest in a horse and never give it the chance to run full out, on its own terms, you'll never know how fast or how far it can go for you.
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.