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"Maybe Italian" β€” anatomy of a fundraising writing "gem" πŸ’Ž

Published about 2 months agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

This is the 123rd Fundraising Writing Newsletter.
If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends.
​(Your fundraising friends can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

βœ… "Maybe Italian" β€” anatomy of a fundraising writing "gem"

βœ… VIDEO: 'Win It in a Minute': How often is a new case statement necessary?

βœ… Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

​

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

​

Hi Reader,

Remember being a kid and seeing a movie that blows you away in part because it's the first time you've encountered a certain genre?

That was me with Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and adventure films.

My eyes were opened. A key was turned inside a secret lock hidden at the core of my personality.

It was then I knew: One day I would be like Indy and explore ancient ruins,

make a mockery of death,

and seize fabulous artifacts.

Or at least I'd one day become a Fundraising Adventurer on the hunt for fundraising writing "gems"...


"Maybe Italian" β€” anatomy of a fundraising writing "gem"

By gem I mean:

a powerfully relatable detail

If you want to be a Fundraising Adventurer collecting gems, you must:

  1. scour available resources (explore ancient ruins)
    ​
  2. resist the urge to settle for what's obvious (make a mockery of death)
    ​
  3. and keep your eyes and all your feels peeled for what's powerfully relatable (seize fabulous artifacts) β€” because that's what'll help stir hearts to action.

I'll give you an example.

About a week ago, Brett and I interviewed a homeless senior named Fred in preparation for the writing of a Spring appeal for a client.

Fred was about to move into temporary housing. The appeal focuses on how Fred is "halfway there" β€” and how donors can help him and other homeless seniors like him "escape the gravitational pull of poverty."

The appeal letter alternates between Fred's need for permanent housing and the impact he and others like him have already experienced because of donors' generosity.

During the interview, Brett and I realized we were going to want at least one gem that would capture the pathos (the ❀️) of the impact related to Fred's temporary housing.

It soon became clear to us that the gem we sought could be found in the moment Fred was looking forward to: cooking a meal as soon as he got to his new place.

Our client serves meals to homeless seniors every day. The meal Fred planned to cook was a nice connection. It would resonate and echo the impact of a key program.

Our interview with Fred gave us several options for the gem. You see, Fred was vague about which meal he might make to celebrate his move. He mentioned several cuisines: Chinese food, curry with Garam Masala, Indian food, chicken Alfredo, and Italian food.

We chose Italian because we believe it's most relatable β€” most inclusive β€” for the average donor. It will likely connect to more donors' memories of past meals enjoyed and past feelings enjoyed a la carte.

So, here's how the gem we found ended up looking in the appeal letter:

In fact, when I last talked with Fred, he couldn’t stop thanking me. β€œWhenever I’m at Serving Seniors,” Fred said, β€œthere’s a different feeling. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be. I call it my safe haven. The staff are friendly and caring. The food is great. The menu is very nutritious. My favorite is chicken leg quarters and rice.”
​
And then he added: β€œI thought I would be on the streets for a long time, but with Serving Seniors I was surprised they found me this place to stay right now. When I found out, I was so excited. I knew the first thing I would do. I would cook a meal. Maybe Italian.”

Notice that this detail is not strictly necessary. Yet β€” just as the mind may conceive of gemstones as mere decorative rocks ... and be wrong in the sense of neglecting the heart β€” so it is with this gem.

It just hits the heart. It's mysterious. It's magical. It just is.

The heart can make all the difference.

And this is why fundraising is an adventure! πŸ’Ž


Win It in a Minute: How often is a new case statement necessary?

video preview​

Here's an oldie/goodie: Julie asks "How often is a new case statement necessary?" Tom Ahern answers with aplomb and fedora.

You can β€”and maybe want to? β€” subscribe here.


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

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


Until next time: May you savor every Fundraising Adventure and collect countless glittering gems!

Grateful,

PS: Hey, what are you doing March 21st?​
​
That's the big day legendary fundraising copywriter and author Tom Ahern will be hosting his once-only-in-2024 webinar "How to Write a Fabulous Case."

After the first 90 minutes of training, you'll enjoy an All-You-Can-Eat unlimited Q&A session featuring Tom, special guest Harvey McKinnon β€” one of North America's leading fundraising giants, expert case-writer, and author of 5 acclaimed books β€” and moderator Julie Cooper.

(In Tom's last webinar, the Q&A lasted 4 hours, a new record. In other words, you can literally get all your questions answered. Priceless.)

​Join us? We hope you will!

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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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