Copywriting

Published on July 18, 2016 by

Stupid fundraising copy changes that will cost you donations

Stupid fundraising copy changes that will cost you donations

I can’t tell you the number of times a new client feels uncomfortable with (or hates) my copy for a fundraising appeal… which then goes on to raise more money than they ever have before. ...

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Published on March 16, 2016 by

June’s Jargon Watch

June’s Jargon Watch

As a copywriter, I hate jargon!

Yet jargon crops up in fundraising appeals, direct mail, donor newsletters, websites… and just about anything else written for donors!

So I’ve decided to start a regular spot on my blog called June’s Jargon Watch. The aim will be to highlight these atrocities of the English language. And also suggest how they could be rewritten so the donor – and the average person – can actually understand them. ...

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Published on October 21, 2014 by

51 fundraising words and phrases that should DIE, DIE, DIE!

In my last post, I had a rant about jargon in charity communications.

This was after an evening of reading appalling non-profit comms copy. And I promised a list of every single weak or jargonish word or phrase I found. Here it is below.

Arranged alphabetically, these are taken from the charity newsletters and direct mail of 11 different organisations.

May I implore you to cast these out forever more from your copy. Your donors will enjoy reading your mail more. Truly.

  1. Access (education, training, clean water)
  2. Accessible
  3. Address
  4. Awareness raising
  5. Brighter future
  6. Capacity
  7. Capacity building
  8. Change attitudes
  9. ...

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Published on October 14, 2014 by

Are you guilty of fundraising copy from hell?

I settled down with a big pile of direct mail one evening last week. I’d gotten a little behind in reading it all.

So I sat on my comfy couch. I opened the first envelope. Newsletter. Oh goody. This was a new charity I’d donated to so I wanted to know what they’d been doing.

Until I scanned the first article which had these phrases (meaningless jargon bolded):

“long-term, integrated community development projects”

access to life-changing programs to empower people”

Ah no, I’d just entered copywriter’s hell.

So I opened another envelope. Newsletter no. 2.

The ...

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Published on October 9, 2014 by

6 income boosters for your Christmas appeal

With Christmas appeals in the works, here's my list to push up the dollars you raise.

1. Your core messaging does NOT include “changing lives” or “transforming lives”. This is a pet hate of mine. See why here. I see it so frequently that I’ve made it No. 1. (Although I will concede the very, very occasional only use of these phrases for brevity.)

2. Send donors more than one communication. I always recommend more than one Christmas direct mail appeal pack. One DM appeal plus a reminder. A DM appeal and a ...

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Published on September 9, 2014 by

Test yourself: What’s an envelope teaser’s main purpose?

Choose one only.

A. To let people know what’s inside

B. To create a positive expectation for what’s inside

C. To reinforce your brand

D. To reinforce your campaign message

E. To get the envelope opened

So what did you pick?

Did you go with A, C or D? Then I’m guessing you’re a CEO or a communicator rather than a fundraiser. (By the way, you can be a great communicator and a bad fundraiser. But generally speaking, you can’t be a great fundraiser and a bad communicator.)

If you ...

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Published on June 25, 2014 by

Only 5 days to go! 10 last-minute suggestions for your EOFY emails

I’ve spent a good part of the last few weeks writing emails to support direct mail appeals. As part of this, I pulled together a whole lot of results from various email campaigns – both my own and others – from various sources.

I’ve found a lot of results have been contradictory. I suspect this is the case for several reasons. These include how the donor email address was acquired and different levels of donor engagement. The quality of email content. What else the donor has been receiving via email. The list goes on.

So I provide the following list ...

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