Could You Write a Swimming Pool? Resources for Copywriters
"John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'" - Paul McCartney
What if you knew that, when your organization’s hot water heater died, you could sit down at your computer and write one? Your organization needs to serve 75 more kids in 2017? Not a problem. You can write it.
Persuasive copywriting is just one skill in the fundraiser’s toolbox, but I’d argue that it’s critically important. After all, everything—from your newsletters, to your fundraising appeals, to your grant proposals, to your online campaign, to your website—stems from the written word.
It’s a skill-set that you should be honing on a regular basis.
How? Here are a handful of my most-relied upon resources:
The Showcase of Fundraising Inspiration (SOFII)
When was the last time you set aside an hour or two to peruse the latest swipe file showcases? And, if you’re still writing thank you letters for year end gifts, don’t miss Lisa Sargent’s Thank You Letter Clinic. You'll learn why, when it comes to stewardship, I always say, "What Lisa Said."
"The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales." by Dan Kennedy
Sure, he’s a bombastic crank, but this book gets you quickly inside your customer's (i.e. donor) head, and walks you through what you need to know to write compelling copy.
"Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content" by Ann Handley
In the age of Internet A.D.D., more and more I’m finding myself tweaking with an eye to simpler. This is an engaging guide to producing, well, ridiculously good content. One of the most useful guides I have ever read.
"The Fundraisers’ Guide to Irresistible Communications" by Jeff Brooks
Tom Ahern says of this succinct little guide, "I flip through it repeatedly every chance I get.” So do I.
"How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money, the Art, the Science, the Secrets" by Tom Ahern
This book has helped me more times than I care to count. Now, I can't begin a writing project unless this guide from Tom Ahern is by my side.
"On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King
Even if you’ve never read a single Stephen King novel in your life, you owe it to yourself to pick up this handy guide. It's part poignant (yet oddly hilarious) memoir, part common sense writing advice. “Story is a fossil you find on the ground, and you gradually dig it out slowly.”
This app does what it says it will do: make your writing bold and clear. Run your next piece through it and see if you don’t agree.
Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
When it comes to fundraising emails, getting it opened is half the battle. Does your email subject header make the cut?
Those are my favorites—what are yours?
Pamela Grow is the publisher of The Grow Report, the author of Simple Development Systems and the founder of Simple Development Systems: The Membership Program and Basics & More fundraising fundamentals e-courses. She has been helping small nonprofits raise dramatically more money for over 15 years, and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Fundraisers by Civil Society magazine, and one of the 40 Most Effective Fundraising Consultants by The Michael Chatman Giving Show.