How to Review Fundraising Writing Fast

Do you spend a lot of time revising documents produced by fundraisers? Many CEOs have complained to me privately about this.

I’m talking about drafts of grant proposals, LOIs, donor appeal letters, fundraising reports, cases for support, newsletters, even donor emails—documents like that.  If so, this brief guidance is for you.

Over the years I’ve observed that before marking up the entire document, the executive’s role is to first make a determination as to its overall quality.

A first determination is a quick assessment. This is where the time-saving aspect comes in.

Here are three major categories I use to quickly determine the quality of the document.

  1. NO WAY: The draft is not acceptable, please rewrite it, and here’s what’s wrong.
  2. YES, BUT: It’s really good, but here are minor edits as shown in track-changes.
  3. RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT: It’s a good first draft, but here are some major changes that I’d like to see for the second draft.

Sometimes I give this feedback by email, but I generally prefer a short phone call with the author to give the feedback personally.

Obviously, if the document is perfect as is, say thank you, be grateful, and move on.

These points apply to all professional or technical writing.

I have editing tips that I can share with you if you email me privately, but I’d bet you have your own approach to that. The step suggested here—determining quality—is meant to take place BEFORE you start editing.

As an aside, a resource I rely on is anything written by the forward-thinking author Tom Ahern, especially his short tome: How To Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money. Tom writing considers how donors read (or not) our appeal letters and he’s been able to document higher response rates using his approaches.

 

I welcome your feedback and learning what works for you in your role of approving fundraising materials (or not).

Related Posts

Foundations Aren’t Much Interested in You

“America’s foundations are not particularly interested in receiving your proposal.” – Bradford K. Smith, President of Candid

Grateful for Brad Smith’s candor and leadership over the years, I rang him up for a chat. Initially, I wanted to know if what our grant officers suspected was in fact true—that most foundations do not welcome your proposals.

Read More »

Virtual Parties With A Purpose: A Compliment to Large Galas

Do you want to throw small virtual fundraising events? If so, this blog post is for you. Big galas have their place, but smaller online events can be impressively lucrative when done well. Sometimes called “Parlor Gatherings,” we call them “Parties with a Purpose” (PWAP). These events can complement your large gala—or even be held in lieu of it.

Read More »

Your Questions, Our Answers on Starting Over with Individual Donors

The questions below were asked by attendees at our “Starting Over” webinar of April 21, 2021, presented by Roger Craver & Laurence A. Pagnoni.

The questions are fascinating, and we hope you’ll find our answers equally so. The webinar focused on the new rules of individual giving fundraising. We welcome your input as well by posting on our blog.

Read More »

Let Your Donors Know – 2021 Tax Incentives

Here are SPECIAL 2021 TAX INCENTIVES FOR GIVING for you to let your donors know. Congress has provided several economic incentives to help address the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including additional tax incentives to encourage charitable giving. These incentives are temporary and are scheduled to expire at the end of 2021.

Read More »