You + a Writer (Can) = Fundraising Success
This is especially trying when one editor likes something and another doesn't. How is the writer to decide if it stays in or not? Someone has to make the judgment call — and that shouldn't be the writer.
Make it easy for the writer to see any changes and offer explanations. It's challenging (and time-consuming) to be sent back a document with the changes just made with no use of "track changes," highlighting or another tool to call them out. Learning from the changes made helps a writer not repeat the same changes over and over, but if they are buried in the document, they may be overlooked and the learning experience doesn't happen.
Also, if there's a reason for something, add a comment so the writer knows not to repeat the same thing again. For example, a comment may read, "Mary (the letter signer) never likes to call them donors; she prefers supporters or partners," or, "We don't use contractions here; our board chair feels they are too informal."
Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask, "Why did you write it this way?" instead of just changing something. There may be a very valid reason that the writer chose a particular word or left out some information. You're not abdicating your responsibility to the writer; rather, you are working as a team to make sure the copy both reflects your organization and its needs and is written the best way possible to communicate that message.
A writer who works well with you is not by chance; it's the result of open dialogue and some give and take on both sides. This old dog knows how much easier it is to write fundraising copy when there's a good partnership with the person initially reviewing the copy. Writers want to nail it for you, so mutual respect goes a long way to making that a reality.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.