Get Straight to the Point When You’re Writing
While a warm-up is essential when you’re exercising, it only slows down your nonprofit writing.
We often feel like we have to give our readers more background than they actually need. It’s that whole “Curse of Knowledge” thing we’ve talked about so many times.
(The “Curse of Knowledge” is when you know so much about a topic that you lose the ability to see the issue from the perspective of those who are less informed. Here are 5 Ways to Fight the Curse of Knowledge in Your Nonprofit.)
You only have so many seconds to catch your reader’s attention. If you start with boring background information, they won’t make it to the good stuff – the calls to action, the thank yous, or the updates on what you’re doing with their money. You’re essentially blocking the “Ask, Thank, Report Cycle” before it starts.
These unnecessary warm-ups tend to creep in most often when giving an update on a project or reporting a program’s accomplishments. Watch out for sentences that begin with these phrases:
- The project is designed to. . .
- The program’s purpose is to . . .
- The goal of the project is to . . .
- I am writing to you today because . . .
These warm-up sentences can often be eliminated, getting you to the point more quickly. If you believe that background information will be necessary for at least a portion of your readers, place it at the end of your document.
How can you get to the point more quickly?
Figure out the one thing you want your readers to know about. Is it a story about how their contributions helped a family? Is it a law that’s being drafted that could affect them? Are you trying to thank them?
Start with that. If you can immediately put the reader into your writing, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting them to read til the end.
Do you have any tips for starting communications? Share in the comments!