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Fundraising writing and life goal: transparency

Published 5 months agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

Hey, lovely you, thanks for dropping in! This is the 110th issue of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you find any value here, please tell your fundraising friends. (Your fundraising friends can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

  • Fundraising writing and life goal: transparency
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you
  • Win It in a Minute - Brett demos AI image generation

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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Hi Reader,

Brett here:

Oh, this picture!

I'll just drop it in on you again, from the video now...

Maybe you already heard about 104-year-old Chicagoan Dorothy Hoffner recently becoming the oldest person to have gone skydiving. (And maybe you heard she died last week, just after β€” or as part of? β€” her perfect landing.)

I love this for many reasons.

Reason #1: that gorgeous smile on her face.

What an example. What a legacy.

Legacy is often on my mind, especially since I entered the world of fundraising.

All the more so since my stepdad Arthur "Bud" Zwierlein died on September 14th at the age of 102.

For his memorial service, Julie put together a bulletin board with a few dozen choice photos. My favorites are the ones that capture who he really was β€” because that's what I'll take with me: his example . . . his legacy.

I could share the photo of him on the deck of a boat he captained in World War II. Or the one of him carrying the Olympic torch in his eighties. Or the one of him very athletically skiing down a steep slope in his nineties.

But here's the pic that really gets me:

It's just so him. It captures his humor, his playfulness, his youthfulness, and his joy in connecting with other people.

It got me to thinking again about my own legacy.

Which reminded me of a #lifegoal / #legacygoal . . .


Fundraising writing and life goal: transparency

Transparency is a top life goal for me because I grew up as a people-pleaser who too often went along to get along. I'm learning how helpful it is to all around me β€” and to me β€” to be clear about who I am, what I want, and what I believe.

Likewise, transparency is a top fundraising writing goal for me (and for Julie; she's authorized me to say! πŸ˜…) because it benefits all people involved: orgs, beneficiaries, donors.

At a high level, this means being committed to transparently conveying need and urgency.

Some orgs have trouble with doing so because they fear expressing the need implies they are not effective. In other words, they think regularly asking for help from donors implies that the organization is not doing a good enough job.

So they shy away from regularly asking donors for help... which hides the need from donors.
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Also, orgs mistakenly focus on themselves ("we") and their impact . . . which causes their appeals to fall flat with a lack of urgency and need.

But donors want to help with real problems. They deserve real transparency.

Usually, we've found: the more transparency, the better.

For example, here's a recent excerpt from an appeal that transparently highlighted the reasons for the urgency:

Donors want to know what's really happening. Giving them the big picture as it relates to need and urgency (your main messaging goals in an appeal) helps them feel the full scope of the problem. This drives action.

Donors want to act. They want to give. For a good cause. Especially when the need is urgent.

Join us in striving for this good goal?
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Footnote for transparency: Julie and I have decided that we will publish as a free PDF download the fundraising writing book we've been working on (slowly, because thankfully we're happily busy with client work).

We've opted to go this route for a number of reasons. The short version is that we're not doing this to make money but to help fundraisers, to gain more exposure, and perhaps to attract the occasional offer of a speaking engagement.

Releasing our book as a PDF for free will be easier for us. We can format it however we want, more quickly. Going the traditional route (which I've done before) can be quite the headache. And we know we'll feel good sharing our writing widely without any budgetary barriers-to-entry.

(We're aiming to finish and share by February 2024. 🀞)


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

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

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” Messaging Mishaps by Steven Screen (a blog post detailing how the way insiders think and talk about their org and their work is usually different from how your supporters think about what you do; and why this is crucial to understand if you have to do effective fundraising writing)
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  • Timelessly Awesome β€” 104-year-old Chicago woman dies a week after making skydive that could make her oldest skydiver via Associate Press (a 1-minute YouTube video showing the moment when Dorothy Hoffner inspired this newsletter edition about legacy and transparency and β€” oh, also β€” when she made history)
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  • Comprehensively Informed β€” Childhood Roundup #3 via Zvi Mowshowitz (an exhaustive summary with links of recent news stories relating to parenting and childhood; including topics from home schooling to TikTok to bullying)
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  • Invaluably Wise β€” Career Advice via Moxie Marlinspike (a blog post that will really make you think about how established systems tend to funnel us "inside the box" and how a good metric to use when considering a career is to evaluate the character, happiness, and wellbeing of those who are veterans in the field)
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  • Inspiringly Sound β€” Feeding time for these cheeky monkeys.. πŸ’πŸŒβ€‹β€‹ via @ClickFollowBOOM (a 30-second Twitter/X video in which a whole bunch of monkeys go bananas over a box of bananas)​
    ​

Until next time: May you experience the yes-this-is-me power of transparency on the regular in your fundraising and in your personal life. You deserve it!

Grateful,

PS: The AI news that impacts fundraising just keeps on coming ...

Here's the latest in our weekly video series, Win It in a Minute. You can (and maybe want to?) subscribe here.

In this video, Brett demonstrates how to use the new AI image generation model DALL-E 3 for your fundraising. You might want to do this for social media as well as for things like DM appeal letter lift notes.

video preview​

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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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