Better Writing = Stronger Connections with Donors and Members

ConjunctionitisI’ve been really trying to focus on my writing lately, both in frequency and in quality. As the world of marketing increasingly focuses on content, generating more media is important for all of us. But it needs to be valuable.

I think it’s easy to try to demonstrate expertise by using big words, long sentences and multiple adjectives because we feel we need to be both caring and compassionate. See there, that was a perfect example. I call it “conjunctionitis.” Sentences filled with “ands,” “becauses” and multiple commas are brutal for the average reader. Especially when reading on-screen.

And have you checked how many of your readers are coming from mobile? Do that. Because those screens are really small.

So I am making sure to take the time to learn more about what it takes to write well. I’ve learned from John Haydon about how to write regularly. To improve my quality I follow great blogs that focus on good writing including Copyblogger and MarketingProfs. To learn about creating value I am absorbing everything I can from online marketers like Frederick Patanaude, Pat Flynn and Derrick Halpern.

Its tempting to just look at what other nonprofit marketers are doing and copy that. There are some good lessons there and you can get a lot of them from Tom Ahearn’s critiques. But we also need to look outside our field and find ideas and inspiration wherever we can.

This week on Copyblogger, Henneke Duistermaat wrote a terrific article about bonding with your blog’s audience. I was struck by how relevant the tips were for nonprofit marketers. Especially for asks and appeals. The author highlights key points like:

  • Writing in a conversational tone without being overly familiar
  • Avoiding the “gobbledygook” jargon that every field has
  • Writing with passion and vulnerability
  • Inspiring your readers to take action
  • Treating your audience like listeners by showing interest in them

These ideas are so relevant to nonprofit communicators building connection with their audiences I had to share. If we could all start to think about our “Target Audience” as a real person that we have the opportunity to talk to, it might change how we write.

Take a few minutes to read the article and see if it sparks some ideas about adjustments you could make in your tone, style and content that might help you better connect with your readers.

For more on connecting with donors see Strategies to Build Donor Love — How to Create Donor-Centric Communication…