I Don’t Care About Money … And Other Confessions Of A Nonprofit Writer

Laurel Dykema

Laurel Dykema

Laurel Dykema at Mission India has done some great guest posts for us, but this might be my favorite! Share your confessions below! ~Kivi

Guest Post by Laurel Dykema of Mission India

Hello, my name is Laurel. I’m a nonprofit writer. And these are my confessions:

#1: I don’t care about money.

Now, don’t get me wrong, fundraising is what I do, but money is not what I really care about. What is really important to me is the work I’m a part of—the changed lives. I’m a part (however small) of changing real people’s stories for the better, and I love that.

#2: I’m usually too busy to hunt for new ideas.

But I’ve found that I can actually get many writing ideas from my everyday work. And you can, too! Want to know how I’ve done it? Here are some ways:

  • Example 1: Think outside the box! A follow-up report I wrote included some great photos from India. Guess where those photos also appeared? Facebook!
  • Example 2: I wrote pieces explaining things I’ve personally learned about India—like bride burning, female infanticide, and devadasis.
  • Example 3: I answered a question from our intern and thought, “Hey, our donors might wonder the same thing!” and created an article.
  • Example 4: A Facebook post from a staff Christmas party? Oh, yeah.
  • Example 5: Emails. What are you and your coworkers talking about over email? Taking a gander at my emails from the past week resulted in some new writing ideas! 

#3: I reuse stuff. All. The. Time.

I’ve been known to make a Facebook post into a mass email … and to strip an email into smaller chunks to post on social media. I might use the same content in our print newsletter … and put it up on our website, too, as a featured story. (Hey, if it’s good content, I’m going to put it in as many places as possible—to make it visible to more people! No need to reinvent the wheel.)

#4: Sometimes I struggle with tunnel vision.

I can get so caught up in my daily tasks that it’s hard to look outside of them! How do I get out of that rut? I carve out a little time to learn something new from a coworker … and even help them out occasionally with some of their responsibilities. (I actually started out making fundraising and thank you calls for Mission India, which gave me a very donor-centric perspective on the organization! This has been SO helpful as I create messaging designed for these very donors!)

#5: The internet does some of my work for me.

Yes, it’s true. And here’s how:

  1. I set up Google Alerts to let me know the latest about what’s happening in India. I often post these articles on social media, especially Twitter, and create emails based on the latest news.
  2. On Facebook, I spy on (ahem … follow) other nonprofit organizations to see what kinds of posts are working for them! Since I follow them, this kind of info pops up in my news feed. Easy-peasy.
  3. Twitter. Same as above.

What about you? Are any of these confessions true for you?

Laurel Dykema joined Mission India in 2010 and currently serves as the staff writer and social media guru. She enjoys a well-turned phrase, Downton Abbey episodes, and a good cup of masala tea.