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When you’re writing content to help raise money and support for your organization, it’s easy to forget how your donor really wants to be approached. Today’s article is a special post by, Cathe Hoerth, one of Pursuant’s copywriters who has worked for dozens of nonprofits over the last 16 years. Here is Cathe’s checklist for making sure any content she writes is donor-centric.

5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Sending Any Content to Your Donors

  1. Are we talking at the donors, or speaking to them? Did the copy start from “here’s what we want to tell the donors about this project” or from “what do the donors want and need to know about this project”? Make sure copy is simple, relevant, and interesting.
  2. Are we involving the donors in past accomplishments? “Last year, through our organization, generous friends like you provided…” vs. “Last year, our organization provided…” Place the donor at the center of the story.
  3. Is the copy more heavily weighted toward process or outcomes? “Look at how great we are!” vs. “Look at what great things we’re accomplishing together!” A certain amount of process has its place in setting you apart from others who have a similar mission, but too many people get into the weeds of “we do this” and “we do that” and the donors don’t need to know & don’t care.
  4. Is the ask “help change the world” or is it “help us change the world”? Are you connecting the donor to the organization or to the people their gift will ultimately benefit? Again, there’s some place for connecting the donor to the organization, more so in some fields than others, but there is a big emotional difference between feeling like you have the power to change the world, and feeling like you have the power to help somebody else change the world.
  5. Who owns the mission/vision? Is it strictly the property of the organization or is it the joint property of the donors and the organization? Use “you’re part of a special group who share the vision of….” not “You are helping us fulfill our mission of…”

In all of your copy remember to provide specific goals and suggested ask amounts (particularly if those are based on specific project costs). Provide a reason why giving now matters, as opposed to giving a month from now. But what’s most important is to help the donor picture exactly how he or she is going to change the world.

To learn more about how to create instant donor satisfaction that drives commitment to your cause download the free resource Demystifying Donor-Centric Fundraising.