Training

In the course of my work in fundraising, I’ve found many charities and non-profits lack the in-house skills to execute key components of a direct response appeal.

In many cases, the organisation will outsource the skills it lacks. But the staff don’t have sufficient understanding to evaluate whether an agency or freelancer has done a good job or done something appropriate for that organisation.

Based on the most common needs and gaps I’ve observed in various organisations, I’m offering the following masterclasses that can be delivered in-house.

Non-profits will find these masterclasses an excellent way to quickly skill up staff or empower them with the knowledge to better evaluate the quality of the work being outsourced.

How to develop a profitable direct mail pack
How to gather and tell your charity’s stories
Using donor-centred language

Masterclass: How to develop a profitable direct mail pack

This class covers the skills that top copywriters use to write fundraising packs that rake in the dollars. I have personally used these techniques to write fundraising letters for clients that have doubled or even quadrupled appeal results.

This class has two components.

The first looks at how to develop the right kind of offer for your donors. Giving “help” or “support” is not a compelling offer for donors, many of whom are giving to multiple charities. You’ll learn how to research your audience and your organisation to come up with an offer that catches donors’ attention and compels them to give.

The second covers how to actually write a direct mail letter. Based on your work in developing the right offer, you’ll learn the structure of an effective direct mail letter and accompanying pieces eg. coupon, inserts, lift notes, envelope. Special focus on developing the most read parts of your letter and touching emotions.

Participants can come with a sample letter to rework or improve.

Outcome: You will leave knowing how to develop and write a killer direct mail pack. Even if you don’t write direct mail, you will benefit from knowing how this medium works.

Masterclass: How to gather and tell your charity’s stories

This class will show you how to use stories effectively in a fundraising appeal. Well-chosen and properly written stories reinforce your fundraising offer and show donors how their gift makes a difference.

This class has two components.

The first covers the gathering of suitable stories. You will learn various methods for sourcing stories, interviewing techniques, how to evaluate a story’s effectiveness, getting photographs or images, and handling privacy, permission and being respectful of interviewees. It includes how to get stories when your beneficiaries are overseas or don’t speak English well.

The second covers writing the stories for a variety of fundraising communications. You will discover how to select the primary story for your appeal and how to use secondary stories to reinforce your message. Find out how to salvage a potentially good story when details are sketchy or the photographs are bad. Also learn the most common pitfall to avoid when using stories.

Outcome: You will finish knowing how to get higher quality stories for your fundraising and how to write them for maximum effectiveness.

Although this class is focused on using stories for fundraising, the principles apply for people who use stories for other donor communications.

Strongly recommended in conjunction with the masterclass How to develop a profitable direct mail pack.

Masterclass: Using donor-centred language

Not all donor communications have the primary purpose of asking for money. But it doesn’t mean your newsletters, brochures, annual reviews, annual reports, emails and web copy and other materials can’t be written in donor-friendly language.

This course will help you get rid of the mind-numbing corporate speak that confuses donors and turns them off. Instead, you’ll be able to write copy that tells donors what they want to know, sparkles with energy and engages them into your organisation.

You’ll learn how to develop the right tone, use donor-centred words and phrases, and what type of language to avoid. You’ll discover how to select donor-friendly subjects, handle the CEOs message and when to include an ask for money.

Useful for staff at your non-profits who write non direct response materials. They are encouraged to bring samples or writing in progress to work on during the class.

Note this does not cover writing direct mail appeals although many of the principles outlined are relevant for direct response writers.

Outcome: After this class, you will be able to write communications that your donors will love reading. You’ll keep more donors interested, informed and in love with your cause.