You + a Writer (Can) = Fundraising Success
Sooner or later, every fundraiser is faced with it. You can't avoid it, despite the horror stories you've heard whispered in the hallways at conferences and posted on social-media sites.
Eventually you will have to rely on someone else to write copy for your fundraising program. You simply can't do everything, and something has to give.
The writer may be an outside professional hired to write a grant proposal, direct-mail letter, newsletter or capital campaign proposal. It may be a staff member who is "loaned" to you for a project. It may be the daughter of your receptionist who needs credit for a school project. But it won't be you.
So how do you make the experience a win-win for everyone instead of a waste of time and money at best and an unmitigated disaster at worst?
Make sure the information you provide in the first place is up-to-date. OK, that sounds easy enough. But sadly, this first step is where many projects break down. You forget to mention that the information on your website is outdated. Or the story you provided was meant only as background as that project is no longer applicable.
There is a lot of information out there about your nonprofit. Apprise your writer on what is good information and what isn't. Admit it when your website isn't up-to-date. Cross out old information in a brochure. It's better to provide a would-be writer accurate numbers written on a napkin than graphically beautiful brochures that have bad facts.
Several months ago, I proposed to a nonprofit (at its request) using a specific project for the focus on the appeal letter. The response was, "Where did you come up with that? Don't you get us at all? That's not what we do!" Oh, sorry — I picked it up directly from your website ..."
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.