Writing. People seem to either love it or hate it.
I feel fortunate that I’ve been in the “love it” category since about the age of six. I grew up writing prolific amounts in journals with cats and flowers on them. I wrote about my days and what was happening in my life. At a young age, I had a lot to say. Writing became an outlet for me throughout my childhood. All of the practice writing I did served me well in college when I had to turn out multiple essays each week in my English lit degree program.
But one place that I found my writing skills fell short was fundraising.
When I became a fundraiser shortly after graduating from college, I quickly found that the style of writing I was accustom to was not going to work in appeal letters and other communications. Not even close.
That’s because there’s something about fundraising writing that often goes unspoken – it is its own genre of writing.
Just like academic papers are written a certain way or how poetry is a different genre, fundraising writing is in a category of its own. Knowing this is half the battle because if you recognize that it is different, it means that you can start to learn the rules of this kind of copywriting. And trust me on this, you want to learn these rules.
Fundraising copywriting is a kind of persuasive writing not entirely like advertising copywriting, but not totally different either. We have to identify our audience’s connection and motivations. We have to invite them to take action using a call to action that has a sense of urgency. We have to sell them on the idea that making a donation will make a difference (and how that happens). These are key principles that we have to bring to every piece of fundraising copy.
Now, maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not a writer and I’ll never be any good at this.” Here’s what you need to know — fundraising copywriting is a skill that can be learned.
Because the fundraising copywriting genre is much more science than it is an art, you can 100% learn how to do this. You just need to know principles of writing in the genre (mentioned above) and how to apply them to your writing. It’s part learning and part practice.