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2 checklists to edit your EOY fundraising appeal with confidence! πŸŽ‰

Published over 1 year agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

Welcome! Today we'll be your wide angle and zoom lenses! πŸ•΅οΈ It's the 63rd issue of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter. Please forward this to someone lovely! (Lovely people can ​subscribe for free.)

In this issue:

  • 2 checklists to edit your EOY fundraising appeal with confidence! πŸŽ‰
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Hi Reader,

Brett here:

Did you ever notice how important it is to see the big picture and the details?

I imagine detectives excel at this.

The fictional Jessica Fletcher, for example, is an ideal detective because she astutely observes a crime scene from a distance and examines it up close (to solve murder mysteries and write them!):

Closer to home . . . I think of The Amazing Race, a tv show in which teams of 2 race around the world and compete in challenges specific to each local culture for a chance to win 1 million dollars.

At the thoughtful request of my daughter-in-law, Yukiho, I have applied to be on The Amazing Race with my son Baye.

Our chances of being chosen are slim, but I think it's worth a shot. Any opportunity to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime high-stakes romp of travel, adventure, and competitive intrigue with a dear loved one is too good to pass up!

For me, the show truly is amazing because it reflects the awe-inspiring mysteries of life: including stress, struggle, frustration, sorrow, pain, endurance, survival, hope, experience, wisdom, and joy.

ALSO: to win, you have to slow down enough to take in the big picture and the details before speeding up in precisely the right direction, toward success.

Oh β€” hey β€” fundraising is like that too!


2 checklists to edit your EOY fundraising appeal with confidence! πŸŽ‰

If you're like most fundraisers, you're drafting your year-end fundraising appeal right now.

Before you sign off on a final draft, make sure you've set your appeal up for success. . .

Do some self-editing before you send your appeal.

Below are 2 approaches you can use to self-edit your work.

BIG PICTURE CHECKLIST: Can you honestly say YES to each of the following big-picture-level statements?

βœ… You've presented a β€œhuman-size” problem for the donor to solve.

βœ… You've made sure your offer is specific, shows urgency, is expressed with a cost, and feels like a good value for the money.

βœ… You've focused on outcomes, not processes or programs.

βœ… You've told your supporters why their help is urgently needed right now.

βœ… You've shown what will happen when they make a gift.

βœ… You've expressed what's at stake if the problem is ignored.

βœ… You've shared a simple story to emphasize the need.

βœ… You've repeatedly asked for the gift throughout the message.

βœ… You've told your supporters how to make a gift now.

If any of the above need work, go back and revise.

DETAILS CHECKLIST: Can you honestly say YES to each of the following details-level statements?

βœ… You've replaced statistics with how the problem affects one person.

βœ… You've deleted words that are not necessary.

βœ… You've replaced weak verbs with strong ones.

βœ… You've used contractions to help your writing sound friendlier.

βœ… You've removed sentences the donor is likely to skip.

βœ… You've purged the jargon and buzzwords.

βœ… You've cut big words when there was an appropriate shorter word.

βœ… You've broken long sentences into 2 or 3 shorter sentences.

βœ… You've created transitions to help with the pacing and flow.

βœ… You've varied paragraph lengths, keeping them to 5 lines or fewer.

If any of the above need work, go back and revise.

Once you've done all that: pour yourself a drink, kick back, and rest easy. You are good to go!


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

For your brain, heart, and funny bone...

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” Customers believe that "125% more" is the same as "25% more." by Nick Kolenda (a blog post explaining how to maneuver around the weird ways in which most minds compute math β€” for best results)
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  • Audibly Thought-Provoking β€” What Is the Future of College β€” and Does It Have Room for Men? via Freakonomics Radio (a 53-minute podcast episode that explores possible answers to the questions raised by its title)
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  • Painfully Funny β€” Who Wants to Be A Millionaire Fail via Studio C (a 5-minute comedy sketch video produced in 2013, in which a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire doubts themselves due to the dubious antics of the audience and host)
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  • Infographically Geographic β€” Visualized: The World’s Population at 8 Billion by Nick Routley (a series of excellent infographics depicting the relative size of each country by population compared to all others as well as within each continent)
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  • Bucketlistingly Good β€” See ABBA on stage in a concert 40 years in the making (the official ABBA website from which you can learn about the Swedish pop masters' bold vision for connecting future and past β€” via stunningly realistic holographic avatars β€” and how you can catch vintage ABBA circa 1980 touring live in concert right now . . . if you can make it to East London in the near future)

Until next time: May you always keep in sight the big picture and the little details so your supporters can fully appreciate your good cause and the urgent need that together you can meet.

We'll see you in your inbox soon!

All our best,

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​PS: You deserve to raise lots more money for your good cause. Why not recruit an "all-star team" β€” The Case Writers β€” to take on your donor communications?

Imagine having all of these people on your side: Tom Ahern, John Lepp, Jen Love, Jeff Brooks, Maggie Cohn, Leah Eustace, Andrea Hopkins, Aimee Vance, and us (Julie & Brett).

Interested? Contact us, risk-free.

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PPS: Tomorrow, Thursday, Julie will be Rachel Muir’s guest during her October Workshop "Write Better Emails and Appeals." You can check it out and sign up here.

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Hi! We're Julie Cooper and Brett Cooper, fundraising copywriters for great causes. Does your fundraising bring in as much money as it could? You can send donor communications that stir hearts to action. We'd love to help. πŸ’› Start by subscribing to our FREE weekly newsletter.

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