10 Rules For Great Fundraising Copy

Many good things have come from Ireland, not just alcohol-related, and at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference, Denisa Casement of Merchant’s Quay Ireland, along with USA-based Lisa Sargent of Lisa Sargent Communications and Sandra Collette of S. Collette Design, offered advice on the care and keeping of great fundraising copy.

The advice is based partly on an appeal by MQI after the 2008 crash that raised absolutely $0, not even the sound of the harp that through Tara’s halls, etc.

So, what did work, eventually?

* Rule 1. Plan for prewriting.  (Notice, plan for it. Then do it.)

* Rule 2. Tame the OAF (Offer, Audience, Format).

* Rule 3. Respect the basics. Keep it simple, one to one, get to the point.

* Rule 4. No autoblag. That is, fundraising copy that looks looks like it was written on mental autopilot. (The presenters credited fundraiser George Smith for originating the term.)

* Rule 5. Emotionalize wisely. Words and concepts.

* Rule 6. Cue common truths.

* Rule 7. Write epics instead.

* Rule 8. Anticipate questions.

* Rule 9. PS and Thank You. They’re not afterthoughts.

* Rule 10. Give them something beautiful. Allegory, setting, suspense, euphony, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme, texture and sound, foreshadowing.