If we’re not careful, taking such a clinical approach can distract us from considering our readers’ overall experience of the package they receive. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay mindful of your readers’ feelings.
Testing is about the most basic best practice we have in direct marketing. It’s how we measure what works and what doesn’t. In fundraising, it’s critical because if there’s one lesson we’ve all learned over and over, it’s that direct mail is counterintuitive. Logic and common sense do not apply. Except when they do.
There is no “versus” between direct mail and email. Yet, it’s essential to approach them differently with your writing.
A copywriting colleague used to keep a folder he called, “The Graveyard of Good Ideas.” He filled it with half-thoughts, messy-concepts and opening lines he’d been in the middle of when he suddenly had to take an important phone call. Or respond to an email. Or stop because the boss stuck his head in the door and needed something urgently.
It’s a wonderful feeling when something you always thought was bad for you turns out to be good for you. Take the use of pseudonyms in fundraising stories. There’s a widespread presumption that using made-up names for real people is a necessary evil...
Our stories have to engage readers on such a powerful emotional level that when we transition from them to the ask, readers feel compelled to take an action or make a gift. Like a still-life painting or a well-written haiku, archetypal images set a scene for readers in just a few words...
We all know telling a good story engages readers and gets them emotionally involved so that they feel compelled to send a gift to your organization. But simply being advised to “tell a story” is pretty empty advice without some concrete guidance about what kind of story to tell and how to tell it.
It’s probably the most common piece of wisdom people give to fundraising copywriters: “Tell a story.”
All fundraising copywriters read (or should read!) lots of direct mail packages.
It’s often said that a donor isn’t really a donor until they’ve made a second gift.
There are many ways to encourage people to open your outer envelope.
Because writing is a solitary occupation, copywriters necessarily spend a lot of time inside their own heads.
When a writer struggles to develop an emotional connection with an organization, the problem might not be the mission.
Stephen King, master of horror, suspense, science-fiction, fantasy and supernatural fiction, has published 61 novels.
The oldest piece of advice in the world of fundraising copy is probably this: “You are not your donor.”