How to Write Copy Your Donors Will Read

Here are some tips to write compelling appeals, cases for support, blogs—anything you want your donors to read.

Put on your donor hat and read this: How to write copy your donors will read.

“We build clinics after a thorough analysis of market factors in regions that lack quality healthcare and look for communities and leaders who are receptive to the vision of empowerment.”

Did you make it through to the end, or did your eyes glaze over when you hit the words “market factors?”

Now try this: 

“We heal those who have nowhere else to go.”

When writing for donors, remember that you’re not writing a grant proposal. It’s important to put some passion into your plea.  

Tom Ahern, a great case statement writer, has said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” We’re certainly not suggesting that you drink a few beers before sitting down at your computer, but there is something to be said about the creativity that comes from free thinking.

Putting Passion in the Plea

Here are some tips to write compelling appeals, cases for support, blogs—anything you want your donors to read:

  • Start with a hook—something your donors aren’t expecting. Or start with a short story that evokes emotion. 
  • Read your text out loud. If it’s too stilted, pretend you’re talking to a friend and edit it that way. 
  • Send your piece to your mother, your brother, or anyone who doesn’t know your organization. When they’re done, ask them if they’d give to the cause. 
  • Write descriptive headlines and capture important details in photo captions. Many people won’t read your text in its entirety, but at least they’ll glance at the easy stuff. 
  • Instill a sense of urgency into your appeals.
  • Limit your statistics to one or two powerful nuggets. Too much data = numbers numb.
  • Keep paragraphs short. White space on a page is a beautiful thing to a reader.
  • Use “you” a lot. Help your donors feel like their investment is driving your work.
  • Remember what your high school English teacher told you—ALWAYS start with an outline. At least write your section headers first to give you direction. This will save you time in the end.

In a world of social media overload and distraction, it’s harder than ever to get your message across. Follow these simple strategies and you’ll have a better chance of getting—and keeping—your donors’ attention. 

How to write copy your donors will read.

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