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How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money

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Whenever we’re called upon to draft a solicitation letter, or write copy for the website, or produce a few passages for the annual report, or, heaven forbid, long stretches of a proposal or case statement, we sit there … and if we’re lucky crank out serviceable prose.  Few would call it sparkling.

It needn’t be this way, and it won’t be this way any longer for those who invest a few hours in Tom Ahern’s new book, How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money.
Price: $24.95

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Description

As journalist Gene Fowler put it, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."

Certainly, many of us in fundraising feel that way.

Whenever we’re called upon to draft a solicitation letter, or write copy for the website, or produce a few passages for the annual report, or, heaven forbid, long stretches of a proposal or case statement, we sit there … and if we’re lucky crank out serviceable prose.  Few would call it sparkling.

And too few are moved to write a check in response.

Each year, bland writing costs organizations mountains of revenue.

There’s the expense of producing the materials – the printing, production, and processing, to say nothing of the postage costs.

But much more consequential is the lost revenue – the money not raised when these homogenized materials fail to connect with the very people who would donate if they were motivated by what they read.

It needn’t be this way, and it won’t be this way any longer for those who invest a few hours in Tom Ahern’s new book, How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money.

But here’s a twist: Even if you don’t write much, you should read this book. Why? Because it’s about more than writing – much more.

In truth, the publisher might have called the book: Getting inside the mind of donors and communicating in a way that inspires their loyalty and generosity.

What Ahern does ­– while showing you how to craft your materials – is to plumb the psychology of donors, uncovering what stimulates interest and instills confidence. His advice applies to all forms communications, written and verbal.

The short odds are that How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money will secure a spot in the pantheon of the best fundraising books ever written.  Communicating with donors is the bedrock of all fundraising. And no book addresses this topic with such virtuosity. 

Table Of Contents

1. Why communicate? To spur action
2. Setting your expectations: Be pessimistic
3. The almighty predisposed
4. Making it interesting (mandatory)
5. Secret to response: The offer is king
6. Why your fundraising communications fail to get the results you want
7. Writing your strategy
8. On the delicate subject of committee & board approvals
9. What is branding, really?
10. Warning: You are an intrusion, too
11. What interests donors
12. Being donor-centric
13. Communicating on all four wavelengths
14. What the Amiable side responds to
15. Anecdotes bring your successes vividly to life
16. What the Expressive side responds to
17. News story ideas: A checklist
18. Sorting the wheat from the chaff
19. What the Skeptical side responds to
20. Honesty and information: Reassuring the skeptic
21. What the Bottom-Line side responds to
22. The emotional imperative
23. Emotional triggers
24. Choosing your emotional twin set
25. Answering the most important question: Why your organization matters
26. Aren’t sure why you matter? Here’s a tip
27. AIDA: Formula for an elevator speech
28. Making your case, step one: Collect information
29. Making your case, step two: Answering the donor’s three big questions
30. Making your case, step three: Telling your story
31. The smallest case there is: Your tagline
32. Headlines: The critical importance of
33. Making a weak headline strong
34. Finding the angle
35. Write for browsers
36. How to keep them reading
37. Do the “you”
38. The dangerous “and”
39. Will you ever be a good writer?

About the Author

Tom Ahern is recognized as one of North America’s top authorities on nonprofit communications. He began presenting his top-rated Love Thy Reader workshops at fundraising conferences in 1999.

Since then he has introduced thousands of fundraisers in the U.S., Canada and Europe to the principles of reader psychology, writing, and graphic design that make donor communications highly engaging and successful.

He founded his consulting practice in 1990 (www.aherncomm.com). His firm specializes in capital campaign case statements, nonprofit communications audits, direct mail, and donor newsletters. His efforts have won three prestigious IABC Gold Quill awards, given each year to the best communications work worldwide.

Ahern is also an award-winning magazine journalist, for articles on health and social justice issues. He has his MA and BA in English from Brown University, and a Certificate in Advertising Art from the RI School of Design. His offices are in Rhode Island and France.

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