Fundraising letters. Social media posts. Grant applications. Corporate sponsorship forms. Emails. Brochures. PowerPoint slides.
At one point, I was the copywriter for all the above (and more!) for a national nonprofit. I was an outside consultant, handling the full writing workload.
After three years of doing this, when the CEO asked me to craft their end of year fundraising campaign ask, I politely declined and suggested they hire an outside copywriter.
I did my best Roberto Duran impression and told the boss “No mas.” No more.
Why? Because I felt like my writing was getting stale. There were only so many ways of saying the same thing over and over again but in a different way.
It was time to bring in someone who didn’t breathe the organization’s mission 365/24/7.
I LOVE This Phrase!
When I mentioned this story to my friend Jacob Kamaras, an excellent copywriter among other things, he responded: “Yup. Been there with clients. I call it ‘self-plagiarization’. When you write for the same entity for a long time and it becomes hard to say the same thing a new way.”
I fell in love with that phrase. Perfect!
Jacob’s not wrong. It happens to a lot of us. There’s only so many ways to paint the mission of your organization for your readers.
Sometimes you have to consider letting someone else do the copywriting or find outside eyes to review your work. Other people bring with them a fresh perspective on the work your organization does. They’ll be able to tell your story a different way.
Know who will appreciate that? Your audience.
No matter how they stay in touch with your organization- direct mail, social media, email or text- it’s good to give them not only a variety of content but also a variety of voices.
And I’m not just talking copywriters.
They shouldn’t only be served stories about your beneficiaries. What about your volunteers? Staff? Donors? Board members? ALL of them have a unique story to share about your organization.
Your job is to get those stories out to your audience.
Fundraising Copy That Hits The Mark
30% of ALL giving occurs in December.
12% of ALL giving occurs in the last three days of December.
I know the pressure you’re under to produce a very successful year-end fundraising campaign. The direct mail packet, emails, social media posts, website content. You have a lot of copy and content to prepare.
The big question is: Will it hit the mark? Will it mobilize people to give?
Sometimes you need outside eyes to check if your fundraising copy hits the mark. If the story you share encourages people to take action. If the problem you present to readers is understandable and solvable.
The last thing you want is to send copy which confuses readers or doesn’t lay out the issue in a simple, easy to understand fashion. When readers have to think, when they have to reread what it is you’re asking, you’re going to receive fewer donations.
The Most Important Part
Fundraising and marketing are about developing strong relationships with individuals. One element of your year-end campaign that you might consider to be an afterthought but will help determine future retention and donations is:
Memorable, heartfelt, warm, genuine gratitude towards donors will boost retention and help with higher subsequent gifts. That’s why it’s important that you work on your thank you letter (phone calls anyone?) from the outset. Composing it at the last minute isn’t going to help future fundraising success.
I suggest that as you’re crafting your year-end letter, you also work on the thank you letter. Your ask will contain a problem you want donors to solve. The gratitude letter explains how their donation resolved the issue for the main character in the ask.
They go together. Work on them together.
When your gratitude rocks, more people will give over a longer period of time.
Which means your year-end campaign isn’t just for 2023. It’s also for 2024 and beyond.
This year I’m gonna help your campaigns succeed bigtime.
Have a look at the three packages of my “Surpass Your 2023 Goals” offer. Find the package that suits your needs and have an expert review your copy and content.
Sometimes, simple changes and edits can be the difference between success and failure!