3 More Proven Techniques for Writing Winning Fundraising Copy

Fundraising copy follows many of the same principles as commercial copy, but it has several important differences, too. The benefits of donating are intangible, so it is up to you as the copywriter to find compelling stories that will make a prospective donor see the good your non-profit is doing in the world.

In our interview with Kimberly Seville last week, her number one recommendation for writing effective fundraising copy was to do whatever you have to do to get great stories that touch your prospect’s heart. Here are three other tips.

  1. Tie your promotion to a national observance.

    There are special observances all the time in this country. From a month commemorating African-American history to a week celebrating music to a day remembering the plight of polar bears. No matter what non-profit you are writing for, there is at least one such occasion that you can tie into a promotion.

    This may seem like a small thing, but it is actually quite powerful. People like to feel connected to important issues. When you tie your promotion into a national observance, you up the level of connection. Not only does your donor feel connected to the fundraising organization, she also feels connected to the celebration of a big idea by the entire country.

    Connection is a powerful motivator. Use it to tap into this subconscious desire that most people have and boost response to your promotions.

  2. Make sure you include a direct call to action.

    With fundraising copy, rather than asking your readers to exchange their hard-earned dollars for a product or service that will directly add value to their lives, you are asking them to give their hard-earned dollars to accomplish a goal that probably does not affect them directly.

    How do you best go about this? There are a lot of ways. You can offer premiums or the benefits of membership in an organization. You can draw upon the fact that people like to help others. It makes them feel important and needed. Whatever technique you use to convince them to support your non-profit’s cause, do not forget to ask for their money. Just come right out and say it. Suggest a donation amount. Ask that they give more if they are able.

  3. Give your piece a personality.

    It can feel like there’s more riding on the success of a fundraising promotion than on the success of a commercial promotion – and in many ways, that’s true. Sometimes, this causes writers to forget to write like people talk.

    Don’t use stilted, highbrow language just because you are promoting an important cause. It’s crucial for fundraising copy to express personality and humanity. So take advantage of what you know about conversational writing to make your fundraising pieces even stronger.

Copywriting for Nonprofits

Copywriting for Nonprofits: How to write inspiring copy for the fundraising market

Put your copywriting skills to work improving the world when you learn the top secrets and strategies to writing effective copy for the fundraising market. Learn More »


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Published: May 27, 2008

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