Claire Meyerhoff and I share a passion for helping nonprofits talk in real language to their audiences. She is doing some really great work helping nonprofits talk about planned giving in very easy-going, fun, and natural ways — and if she can do that for planned giving topics (read=the really dry, boring stuff), she can do it for anything!
I’m bugging her to get her clients to give permission for us to share some examples, but until then, here are some tips from Claire excerpted from the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s article this week, “A Mighter Pen Can Help Charities Spread Messages (subscription required to view whole article).
Write to an audience of one.
Have one real reader in mind, such as a particular relative or a neighbor, says Claire Meyerhoff, a communications consultant who specializes in fundraising. Write as if you are speaking to that person. If, say, a family member helped you with a down payment on a car, you wouldn’t write that person a note saying, “Together we found the funds to purchase. …” Just say thanks for the specific way the person helped.
Avoid complicated language.
Strike a conversational tone and avoid jargon. “Impacting youth is like double jargon,” notes Ms. Meyerhoff. If something affects kids, simply say it affects kids.
Don’t tell readers what they already know.
It’s boring and a quick way to lose their attention. Organizations do spend a lot of time recapping their missions even to people who are longtime supporters, Ms. Meyerhoff notes.