Revelations From Mal Warwick,
Nonprofit Guru (an AWAI Exclusive)

Mal Warwick’s 40-year fundraising expertise has made him an in-demand fundraising copywriter all over the globe. Mal has not only authored 17 books on fundraising and mentored many nonprofit executives, his firm has raised over $300 million for worthy causes.

I was fortunate to have an email chat with Mal recently, where he passed along two secrets for writing powerful, effective fundraising copy. He also revealed a valuable tip that can firmly position you miles ahead of the competition.

Mal’s first secret:

"When writing fundraising copy, emphasize benefits rather than the organization’s needs.

"Donors don’t really care about needs. They want to know what benefits others will experience if they answer the appeal. What good will take place? Will lives be saved? Will children’s hope in the future be restored? Will the dignity of elders be preserved?

"These are benefits. A strong writer concentrates on THEM, translating an organization’s needs into outcomes that donors respect and want to see happen."

Mal’s second secret:

"Write as though you’re engaging in dialogue with your reader.

"The words ‘you’ and ‘I’ are the most important words in any fundraising letter. Repeated references directly to the reader heighten his interest and engagement, and increase the likelihood that he will follow your line of argument and move along to the call for action.

"After all, if you don’t draw the reader all the way to the call for action, you’re failing in your job as a writer."

If you’ve done your copywriting homework, both of Mal’s secrets should sound familiar. They are two of the most important secrets of powerful copywriting that Michael Masterson reveals in the Accelerated program.

And now, here’s Mal’s tip – exclusively for AWAI members:

"Learn everything you can about the work of the organization you’re writing for. Understand the effects it has had on people. Determine how you can translate abstract goals and program priorities into human realities that donors can relate to."

Mal urges AWAI members to investigate the fundraising market … a market that’s experiencing 10%-20% annual growth nationwide (far outpacing the private business sector).

This growth has enormously boosted the demand for skilled copywriters and designers. Nonprofits are clamoring for those who have what it takes to earn top dollar for their organizations.

Mal told me that – contrary to what many people believe – fundraising copywriters are among the highest paid in the industry, frequently earning six-figure incomes … and higher.

This presents a unique opportunity for you to start and build a solid career … or a niche to move into if you’re looking for new, exciting, and rewarding challenges.

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Published: April 11, 2005

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