You + a Writer (Can) = Fundraising Success
Avoid embarrassment all around, and make sure the would-be writer is equipped with accurate information from which to work.
When you get the first draft, remember that you are not reading an essay for English 101. It's a conversation that just happens to be in print.
So read the copy out loud. Mark things that make you stumble because your reader may stumble there, too. But unless it's a corporate mandate, don't purge all contractions or colloquialisms; after all, that's how we talk. And an occasional split infinitive or a sentence starting with "and" or "but" is OK. Really.
Oh — and so are one-word sentences.
Edit to make it better, not just different. It's always tempting to want to leave our mark on things, so give us a red pen and a piece of copywriting, and our inner editor comes out. But resist the urge to earn your keep by over-editing.
It's easy (for me, at least) to fall into the trap of putting in a lot of edits that are really just my personal preferences; they aren't going to make one iota of difference. So I have to fight (myself) to avoid that. After all, my pointless edits can discourage a writer until he or she won't even try to challenge the status quo anymore; you'll just get same-old, same-old copy time and again. The reasoning becomes, "Why bother being creative? All the life will just be sucked out of it by the editor."
But feel free to edit freely to make it read better, give more accurate information, flow correctly or whatever is needed that truly improves the copy.
Combine comments from multiple editors into one master document. In other words, you have to make the call. Don't send your writer two or more sets of edits and expect him or her to decide who is higher in the organizational pecking order and thus has to be followed in case of a disagreement.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.