Write fundraising materials that raise more money

Tom Ahern, one of our top authorities on nonprofit communications in North America, has written a book for those of us who are not full-time professional writers: How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money. Critically important advice, game-changing strategies and valuable trade secrets are packaged in this light and breezy format of short chapters containing straight talk. Ahern easily traverses psychographics, demographics, structural tips, and building a case, so you can feel as if the mountain of communications you face is a task worth climbing. We kick off our feature with Tom’s advice on what belongs in the communications. Content that interests your reader is mandatory. How do you interest people?
Here’s a checklist of what Ahern considers when he writes for donors or prospects:

Have I said what amazing things the organization did or would do with their gifts?

Did I mention worthwhile results? Real accomplishments?

Did I link these accomplishments back to charitable giving?

Did I celebrate the donor as the hero?

Did I talk about the organization’s cost efficiency?

Is it bold, passionate? (Not bland, predictable or boring?)

Is the tone conversational?

Is the publication as a whole a quick read using short sentences and action verbs?

Have I eliminated jargon?

Am I using statistical evidence like a spear to make a single important point?

Can I use a testimonial anywhere to inspire the faithful and calm the doubters?

Have I made at least one offer they can respond to?

The secret to the response: the offer is king, says Ahern. The richer you make the offer, the better the response. For example, people can’t resist matching gift campaigns. Don’t bury the offer at the end of your copy—make it bold and not easy to miss.

For more information about Tom Ahern’s book and more expert advice, visit www.aherncomm.com.

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