Fundraising Ireland copywriting for fundraising masterclass


Published on

Slides from half day masterclass, Copywriting for Fundraising, Dublin 13 February 2014.

Published in: Marketing

Fundraising Ireland copywriting for fundraising masterclass

  1. 1. Copywriting for Fundraising 13 February 2014
  2. 2. Damian O’Broin Annetta Murphy @damianobroin @annettamurphy
  3. 3. Client list 2010-14 Women’s Aid ‘Working to End Violence Against Women’
  4. 4. Think of a song that makes you cry
  5. 5. Did an angel whisper in your ear And hold you close and take away your fear In those long last moments We used to drive Thru Lafayette and Baton Rouge In a yellow Camino Listening to Howling Wolf He liked to stop in Lake Charles Cause that's the place that he loved
  6. 6. Some questions you need to answer before you start...
  7. 7. Who are you writing to? Describe them
  8. 8. Exactly what do you want my money for? And why?
  9. 9. Who is signing the appeal? Why?
  10. 10. What are the tangible and... ...intangible benefits for the donor?
  11. 11. Why respond NOW?
  12. 12. Stories & Stickiness
  13. 13. S imple Unexpected C oncrete C redible E motional S tories
  14. 14. Simple “It’s about elegance and prioritisation, not dumbing down” – Chip and Dan Heath, Made to Stick
  15. 15. Simple
  16. 16. Unexpected This is an unsolicited fundraising appeal from Women’s Aid. Please discard it immediately if you feel it’s presence may put you at risk
  17. 17. Unexpected 20
  18. 18. Unexpected Surprise. Then interest and curiosity. You need to open up gaps in people’s knowledge... and then fill them.
  19. 19. Unexpected Harris  Interac,ve  Poll,  October  2010
  20. 20. Concrete
  21. 21. Concrete
  22. 22. Concrete Think about proverbs. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”
  23. 23. Credible
  24. 24. Credible The importance of the Darth Vader toothbrush
  25. 25. Credible More details Vivid stories CREDIBILITY Active language Concrete words
  26. 26. Emotional
  27. 27. Drive action Why emotions are important Enhance memories Increase attention
  28. 28. The Mother Teresa Principle If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.
  29. 29. The Joe Stalin Principle One man’s death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic.
  30. 30. The Rokia Experiment
  31. 31. Food shortages in Malawi are affecting more than 3 million children. In Zambia, sever rainfall deficits have resulted in a 42% drop in the maize production from 2000. As a result, an estimated 3 million Zambians face hunger. 4 million Angolans – one third of the population – have been forced to flee their homes. More than 11 million people in Ethiopia need immediate food assistance. 23% of earnings donated
  32. 32. Her life would be changed for the better as a result of your financial gift. With your support, and the support of other caring sponsors, Save the Children will work with Rokia’s family and other members of the community to help feed her, provide her with education, as well as basic medical care and hygiene education. 48% of earnings donated
  33. 33. Proportion of Earnings Donated 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% Emotional Small,  Loewenstein  &  Slovic Rational Combination 0%
  34. 34. Closeness: Proximity to the victim; feeling of kinship with them. Vividness: Detail, description, ‘colour’. Drop-in-the-bucket: Can I make a difference?
  35. 35. Dan  Ariely,  The  Upside  of  Irra,onality
  36. 36. Stories Rebirth Tragedy Comedy Voyage and Return The Quest Rags to Riches
  37. 37. Overcoming the Monster
  38. 38. H/T to @markyphillips (
  39. 39. How can you make your appeal sticky
  40. 40. The copywriter’s toolbox
  41. 41. Geroge Orwell Politics and the English Language (1946) 1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 2. Never use a long word when a short one will do. 3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. 5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
  42. 42. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Use Saxon words not Latin Indicate Show Information News, facts Immediately Now, right away Construct Build, make Discover Find
  43. 43. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Use vivid words and not hackneyed ones Use short sentences and vary the lengths Use short paragraphs and vary the lengths
  44. 44. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Get to the point! “You are a charity. People expect you to be asking for money. So do not delay this primary reason for communicating. Do not feel you have to lead up to your vulgar request via 200 words of selfjustification, for nothing is more tiresome than an overlong preamble to a predictable question.”
  45. 45. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Use active verbs and not passive verbs Donations are needed to complete this vital work Will you make a donation to complete this vital work?
  46. 46. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Relate the story to the reader One in three of the population will suffer from cancer. One in three of your friends and family will suffer from cancer.
  47. 47. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Ask for money not support. Use ‘I’ and ‘You’
  48. 48. “You” or “Your” is repeated 14 times on Page 1 (and donor’s name appears four times)
  49. 49. Geroge Smith Asking Properly (1996) Does it sound like someone talking? If not, why not?
  50. 50. A few points about grammar. It helps to know the rules. But you can break the rules. You can start a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘But’ And you can have a sentence without a verb. (Like this.) A sentence can be one word long. A paragraph can be one word long. Or one sentence long.
  51. 51. More tips for direct response copy Long copy almost always beats short copy Appeal on the basis of benefits, not needs (or features) Tell people exactly what you want them to do (make a gift of €25 today)... ... And make it as easy as possible for them to do it. PS: Always include a PS - it’s usually read first and most often
  52. 52. More tips for direct response copy You can drive up response by using... ... urgency ... deadlines ... targets
  53. 53. More tips for direct response copy Use a large font (12pt or larger) and a serif typeface Indent paragraphs and vary their length Break up the text with sub-heads, bold, underline, italics, images, handwritten notes
  54. 54. 62
  55. 55. 63
  56. 56. 64
  57. 57. 65
  58. 58. 66
  59. 59. Putting it all into practice...
  60. 60. Start by writing the response device.
  61. 61. Next, write the outer envelope.
  62. 62. Now, write the lead.
  63. 63. Finally, write the letter.
  64. 64. THANK YOU Damian O’Broin Annetta Murphy @damianobroin @annettamurphy
  1. A particular slide catching your eye?

    Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.