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By Amy Sukol

Everything old is new again.  That was the important message that Annie Hughes, President of Type A Strategies,  shared at the November DMAW Luncheon , Smart Copywriting = Success.

Despite the fact that the world of communication has changed radically in the last 10 years, the basics of excellent fundraising communication remain the same, or in some cases, have become even more important.

Here are Annie’s five “rules with a new twist”:

Old Rule #1:  Smart copy clearly outlines the benefits of giving.

New Twist: On email and in social media, there is very little space to share these benefits.  So you must get to the point right away and communicate this critical message in the most concise and direct language.

Old Rule #2: Copy should be conversational.

New Twist: Don’t break this rule!  In fact, in the brave new world of social media, you need to take this rule one step further.

Old Rule #3: Add urgency to all copy.

New Twist: Urgency works even better in social media.  Take advantage of the immediacy of these channels to get critical messages out in a timely manner.

Old Rule #4: Tell a story and show how a gift can help.

New Twist: Passion is infectious.  Social media can ignite passion, especially if you are scouring  your organization for the stories that are particularly compelling.  Reach out to people from all across your organization to uncover the stories that really capture the good work you do.

Old Rule #5: Be direct – explicitly ask for money

New Twist:  This is even more critical in social media when you have less space to make your case.  In addition, your call to action needs to be in the beginning of your copy so that, no matter what device your message is being viewed on, the reader will see it without having to scroll down.

The one new rule that Annie described is the rule of integrated communication.  She provided several case studies showing the power of integrating messaging across all channels – mail, phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

While the return on investment from these campaigns wasn’t realized in the social media sphere, they absolutely increased fundraising online and in the mail because the social media engaged the audiences and got them involved in the campaigns.

Thank you Annie for an important reminder that the things that make copy effective haven’t changed, even if the channels have.

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