What Goes into Excellent Nonprofit Writing?

I recently read an interview with Jack Hart, the managing editor of The Oregonian and author of “A Writer’s Coach: An Editor’s Guide to Words that Work.” He talked primarily about the writing process, but he also mentioned several qualities of good writing: -It’s tight, with clean syntax. -It’s forceful. -It’s colorful, with lively verbs…

Writing Better Personal Profiles for Your Newsletter

Including personal profiles in your newsletter is great way to tell an important story about your organization, while also recognizing the contributions of a single person. I write a lot of donor profiles, for example, that tell nice stories about the individuals and acknowledge their generosity, while highlighting the organization’s accomplishments — i.e. “Jane Donor…

Connecting with Your Audience – A Fundraising Essential

There is no such thing as the “general public” in nonprofit communications, and especially in fundraising. From the core of your message to how you deliver it, your communications need to target specific people or at least specific groups of people. But if developing a targeted communications plan is a new concept for you, knowing…

Executive Directors: What Your Staff Want to Tell You

Earlier this week I taught “Strategies for Successful Nonprofit Newsletters” for the Duke University Certificate Program in Nonprofit Management. During the course, several students expressed their frustrations about working with their executive directors on various newsletter issues. Here are three questions they asked and how I answered. Q: We always have to print the “letter…

New Discussion List for Nonprofit Writers and Editors

If you are interested in networking online with other nonprofit writers and editors, check out the new Writers and Editors Affinity Group at N-TEN. It’s essentially an email discussion list, but affinity groups can also produce blogs and wikis. As of today, there are 39 N-TEN Affinity Groups, so you might find others that interest…

The General Public? Write for the People Who Matter

In every workshop I teach on nonprofit communications, I always include an exercise on defining your audience, and that exercise always starts with this statement: In nonprofit communications, there is no such thing as the general public! The “general public” includes everyone from my three-year-old daughter to my eighty-year-old grandma. It includes Wall Street brokers,…

Annual Report & Business Writing E-Courses Starting

I’ve got three online courses beginning Monday, June 5. Since each week’s materials take one-two hours to complete, you can safely enroll anytime next week and not get behind. All of the courses are four weeks long. How to Write a Nonprofit Annual Report — This course teaches participants the basic steps for creating an…

Innocent Words Branded as Spam

Magilla Marketing published an article today called Not-So-Obvious Words Trigger Spam Filters, which is based on research by an email marketing firm in the UK. Here are ten of the words that could easily appear in email from nonprofits: acceptance accordingly presently maintained organization percent sincerely somebody statements urgent None of these rise to the…

Designers Who Can Write, and Writers Who Get Design

Nancy Schwartz at Getting Attention wrote yesterday on the value of graphic designers who can write well too, quoting an article by Derek Powazek. While I think it’s incredibly difficult to be both an outstanding writer and an outstanding designer, it is reasonable to expect design professionals to have solid writing skills, and vice versa.…