- Fri, January 13 2012
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
10 Resolutions for Online Fundraising and Marketing Success in 2012 is the title of a free new eBook from Network for Good. You can get it here.
My favorite resolution is, No More Crappy Copy!
Bad writing gets in the way of good causes all the time. Let’s put a stop to that in 2012.
Here are some tips from the eBook.
• Write to one person. Having a single person or persona in mind (e.g., 60-year-old married woman with no children) when you write an appeal helps you know what to say and how to say it. Many nonprofits write to the “general public,” and that makes their copy sound vague.
• Use active not passive voice. Forgot Rhetoric 101? That’s OK. Here’s an example of active vs. passive voice. Passive voice: “Our nonprofit is being helped by your efforts.” (Yuck!) The technical active-voice version of that would be, “Your efforts help our nonprofit.” Better, just by virtue of being written in the active voice. But better yet would be to punch it up further.
• Answer the key questions. Outlines are extremely helpful when writing. Try using the outline below and answer these four questions when building your next email appeal, PowerPoint presentation, newsletter or annual report.
• Why should I give to your cause?
• What will my gift do?
• Why should I give now?
• Who else gives, and who says I should give to you?
• Speaking of stories – tell one! Much has been written about the power of storytelling to persuade. One of the oldest forms of narrative, stories are easier to remember than isolated figures and facts. They’re also easier to tell. To learn more about how to tell better stories, see author, speaker and consultant Andy Goodman’s site.
• Edit, edit and edit some more. If you do nothing else to improve your writing, start editing your copy, and we promise it will improve. Here’s why: Writing is not a one-shot deal. It takes a lot of refining to write clear and compelling copy. Perfect your copy by rereading it at least three times before “going to print.” Cut unnecessary adjectives, and delete entire sentences!