It’s pretty stiff competition for charities out there. On top of saving the world, non-profits have to vie for the attention of donors amidst a sea of other worthy causes. How does a person choose an organization to support? By using a moral compass? Of course not! Donors gravitate to organizations that stand out.
When writing for a non-profit audience, you can craft a message that will get you noticed.
- Get to the point. Whether you are writing a brochure or web content, you have got to remember that your audience has a shorter attention span than a six-year-old who has just polished off a bag of jellybeans. Don’t mess around with fill; jump into your message, and keep it brief and punchy.
- Have a unique voice. Maybe it sounds odd to throw in a bit of humour when bringing up abused animals (or whatever the cause is), but people are tired of unsolicited engagement. Say something that makes people laugh, gasp, or stop in their tracks.
- Showcase the unique aspects of your organization. What makes you different from every other charity? What makes you interesting and compelling? And how exactly does this unique value make a positive impact?
- Give your results. So, what have you done to change the world? Give some clear facts and statistics —social proof — that will convince someone that the money they hand over will actually make a difference.
- Put a face on it. Don’t make people feel like they are being randomly engaged by a robot. Create a personal touch in your message by speaking in the first person, and use a colloquial voice that doesn’t sound stuffy and overly formal. Avoid constantly referring to your organization's acronym, and constantly remind yourself that you are sharing a personal story.
- Involve your target donor. One of the most powerful ways to get the word out about your organization is to get your donors to spread the word. One successful trend is to suggest that donors use their own party as a platform to raise funds for the cause. Don’t want baby shower gifts? Donate! Celebrating a 40th birthday? Make it meaningful by raising money for charity rather just getting trashed. Getting married? As the Nature Conservancy of Canada suggests, ask your guests to hold off on the blender and, instead, contribute to the conservation of ecologically significant land across Canada. Once donors start to engage, include them in your storytelling.
- Use active language. When creating a call to action, keep the voice active and start your sentence with a call-to-action verb. E.g., Donate today; Plan a fundraising party; Share your story.
You know your organization is making a difference, but do potential donors?