YOU NEED TO put something out there. If you don’t tell people who you are, what you do and how you do it, they’re simply not going to know. And if they don’t know, they can’t engage with your organization no matter how awesome you are.
“When we hire the copy writer next year, we’ll start telling our story. We don’t have time or resources to engage our community right now. When every department head has read and signed off on the copy we’ll send it out.”
If so, you spend way too much time worrying about exact wording, letting too many people edit what you’ve written and trying too hard to copy and paste your key messages in; even if it makes your copy awkward!
Too often the result is our message to the community doesn’t get out there, and if it does, it’s too late and so filled with jargon that the point you’re trying to make is lost.
**Don’t misunderstand me, there is a place for this type of writing for internal use, when building a case for support, or when writing proposals, etc. It’s just not helpful when trying to engage passionate people to become donors and volunteers.
Here are some practical tips and important ideas to keep in mind when soliciting support whether you are communicating in person, on the phone, through direct mail, email, on your website, social media or in interviews.
- Keep it simple. Use clear language. Create an easy-flowing conversation. Engage the emotions. (This is the situation. This is what we’re lacking. You can help.)
- Present a clear ‘call to action’ and make it easy for people to take you up on it. The more steps you create, the more hoops people have to jump through, the more clicks someone has to take on your website, etc., the less likely you will get the response you seek.
- Don’t over think every communication. Copy should be well written but loses impact and passion through over editing. Nobody reads your every word anyway. (sorry to be the one to break that to you)
- Brainstorm ways to start a conversation. Be prepared to answer questions if people want to know more. (note: Your detailed internal messaging will serve you well for those who desire more specific information – keep it handy)
- Say thank you often and through every medium you have at your disposal.
The danger is not so much that you will put out a message with devastating implications. The real danger is not putting anything out there at all.
The purpose of The Other Bottom Line is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.