Looking In From The Outside – Improving Your Fundraising Copy


YOU WANT EVERYONE to know about all the great work you’re doing. Not only that, you want them to know why your methods work and you have reams of data to back it up. Granted, you are very knowledgeable in your field and judging by your copy, it’s obvious that you are more than happy to educate everyone.  And if you do it right, you can even show them how clever you are and dazzle them with your creativity and witty intelligence, right? Wrong.

This may be impressive in a staff meeting with your colleagues or while clinking glasses with your peers, but when writing fundraising copy, you will not see the results you’re looking for with this approach. Don’t hesitate to seek help, especially if you don’t have a fundraising professional on staff.

Why not consider these 7 benefits of contracting a professional to write your fundraising letter or do an audit of your current copy? They can ensure that your letter:

  • is all about the donor and how (s)he makes a difference
  • is free of jargon and industry terminology
  • is easy to read and understand
  • tells a compelling story and links it to the efforts of your donor
  • has a clear ask
  • includes a response device and offers other easy options for donating to your organization
  • provides contact information and invites donors to share their ideas and questions with you

How do you make sure your fundraising letter is the best it can be?

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.



    • Kerwyn Hodge

      I’m with you, Kristi; these tips are spot-on! They’re great reminders for marketers in general. You have to write with your audience in mind. It’s never about you, always about them. And yes, there has to be a clear call-to-action, or the people who read your copy will say, “that was a great article/email/whatever!” and then go about their business because you didn’t make it clear what you want them to do!

      • Kerwyn Hodge

        Most definitely, Diana! To me, that highlights both can and should be conducted with honesty and integrity. Reaching the hearts of people, connecting with them on an emotional level, these are the earmarks of good sales as well as good fundraising.

  1. bulldog

    Excellent points… when talking or doing demos I always expect the person to know nothing and try to talk in such a way as to educate the unenlightened… been to so many talks where the person has done nothing more than show his knowledge without imparting any of it to his audience…

    • theotherbottomline

      Some situations like the ones you speak of, definitely call for explanations! I know this is true of your company Terratry. You have done demos at tradeshows and such, right?

      When writing fundraising letters, it is more important to make a connection on an emotional level or value-based level. In other words, help the donor to see how they are part of the solution and make a difference….

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