December 17, 2019
Why Writing Is Important to Fundraising
Author and blogger Pat Bertram (bertramsblog.com) was asked to speak on the topic: Why Is Writing Important? Particularly in this age of emails and texts, writing is essential to saying what we mean and being clearly understood.
A key to communication
In fundraising, writing is key to communicating with prospects and donors. Good writing inspires confidence; it imparts a strong point of view and underscores the value of what you are saying. Grant makers, in particular, expect to see quality writing in your proposals. People who care about good writing know carelessness when they see it.
Look at all the appeal letters that populate our inboxes. Comparing a few will give some insight into what works and what doesn’t. A letter that is too long or formatted with a hard-to-read font quickly causes eye fatigue. “But there are so many great things to say about our organization, and we couldn’t leave anything out!” In truth, you are better off when your piece is short and concise. Also, nothing kills a reader’s attention more than a misspelling or a sentence with missing or misplaced words. Mistakes give the reader the impression that the organization didn’t care enough to do things right.
The power of storytelling
The best part about communicating is that it allows us to tell stories. Explains Bertram, “What makes us human – what connects us to one another – is our ability to tell a story.” This is especially true of fundraising. How much more effective is an appeal letter that shares a story of a life changed rather than just offering a list of statistics?
As Bertram notes, “Writing takes what is in your mind and allows other people to experience a part of you.” Remember this, particularly when you are writing to inspire others to give to your organization.
Wayne A. Courtois, MFA, GPC, Vice President of Grant Writing and Research
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Karin Cox, MFA
The Power of Philanthropy™: Why Give?
Everyone benefits from giving: those who receive as well as those who give. Generosity is a wonderful habit to cultivate. It can help foster gratitude, which has numerous positive outcomes. According to researcher, Robert Emmons, gratitude reduces toxic emotions such as envy, resentment and depression and increases overall happiness and well-being.
I travel a lot, and when I settle into my airplane seat, the person beside me will often ask what I do. When I say, “major gift fundraising,” half of them will visibly shudder and tell me how much they hate fundraising. I usually smile and let them in on a little secret: “If you don’t enjoy fundraising, you’re doing it wrong.” Go here to read more.
The Power of Philanthropy™ blog shares stories and lessons of individuals and organizations whose gifts have improved the lives of others. Check this space for archived blogs and subscribe to have new posts sent right to your inbox.
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