How Anyone Can Be an Effective Fundraising Writer
Jeff Brooks, a seasoned nonprofit fundraiser and author of The Fundraisers Guide to Irresistible Communications, details the theory and practice of writing effective fundraising materials by explaining the psychology of fundraising, showing what works and what doesnt, and identifying traps and how to avoid them.
Above all, fundraising writing differs from other types of writing ” and often breaks the rules of what traditionally is called good writing by using, for example, sentence fragments and the passive voice. The goal, as Brooks suggests, is to get people to look past their self-interest, to tap into their inner angels and join you in changing the world,” what he admits is a tall order.
He delves into his task by telling what fundraising is not.
You could write:Effective fundraising writing involves good story telling, and Brooks teaches how to present a problem, comment on it, and provide the right ending.
Theres a decision every writer makes before starting a story,” he asserts. If you make the right choice, your story can be a cupids arrow aimed at the donors heart. Make the wrong choice and youll spoil any magic, leaving the story as exciting as a sponge soaked with cold coffee.”
The job of the fundraising writer can be difficult, but, according to Brooks, rewarding by transforming complex, confusing, even discouraging realities into living opportunities for donors.
Perhaps Brooks most uplifting message is that anyone can write. It just takes practice, willingness to give up The Elements of Style approach to writing that everyone was taught in high school, and belief in and understanding the donors interest and motivation ” along with the fortitude to rewrite as often as needed until the job is done.
How to Turn Your Words Into Money is available from Emerson & Church, Publishers.
Reviewed by Peter Lowy