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How to make your fundraising "last words" ECHO-echo-echo

Brett here:

I used to write "Daily Thoughts" – aka, me trying to be quotable from 2014 to 2021.

I wrote one every day... 2,519 in total. The process taught me a lot about writing.

1 big takeaway?

"Last words echo."

Here's how...

Ask yourself if the last word in a sentence, in a section, in...

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You can't get donors to FEEL it if you don't feel it first

"Don't put that in there!" 

This is how Julie replied to my beloved first idea for a subject line for this newsletter.

She deemed my idea "gross" and "not good."

She was right, of course. (As she usually is! ❤️)

Still, I can't resist telling you my bad idea anyway...

Skip over the ...

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Your next appeal: from interview to fundraising story

Our son Baye was once a beneficiary – at age 7, when he lived in an orphanage run by an American nonprofit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He has many stories to tell.

But turning beneficiary stories into moving fundraising stories of need for an appeal letter is more challenging than...

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Make your fundraising offer the cliffhanger (Star Wars fundraising)

I love a good cliffhanger – don't you?

Question: are you using cliffhangers in your fundraising?

More on the why soon. But first...

(spoilers ahead... for those of you still avoiding Star Wars)

Consider the power of a good cliffhanger.

–Star Wars: The Empire Strikes...

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Thank you for the "mental real estate"

You can find a lot of cool stuff tucked away in the nooks and crannies of a person's brain.

For example...

Before Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple Macintosh, computers did not offer multiple fonts. You got 1 font and 1 font only. (Don't like it? Too bad!)

Jobs came up...

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You Can't Feel "Empty Urgency"

 In a way, subject lines are a microcosm of fundraising.

Writing them can be maddening, mysterious, marvelous...

They are tantalizingly short. They can be infuriatingly tricky. But, if you're up for a challenge, they're good fun.

That's why I like to study subject lines, to turn them...

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Do Your Fundraising Stories Give Away the Ending?

In your donor appeals, your endings are so important! 

A misplaced story ending means your appeal might not end well.

Here's an except from page one of a pretty typical appeal letter story.

It’s a terribly sad story of a boy named Ian who has nightmares of a parent killing him....

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The 1 Forrest Gump Fundraising Secret You Need

       As a donor, I sometimes daydream about the charities I support and wonder what it would be like to be there to see my gifts at work ...

       … to see a child as she wakes up from a sight-saving surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital …

...

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3 Tips for Personalizing Your Fundraising Appeals

Your name is important to you. It's true, isn't it?

Even if you are in a room with many people chatting, you likely have "selective hearing" for your name.

When someone says your name, your brain has an amazing ability. It can focus on that one bit of information while simultaneously ignoring...

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A Playlist to Get You in the Mood for Your Fundraising Appeal Writing

Need a little inspiration as you approach the busiest fundraising season of the year?

I got you!

Here is a playlist I curated with you in mind. You can listen to it on Spotify, Apple Music, or watch each music video on YouTube. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed...

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How To Balance Doom & Gloom with Happy & Hopeful in Your Fundraising Appeal

I received an important appeal-writing question from newsletter subscriber Miriam.

Miriam writes:

All the fundraising appeal trainings I’ve attended say the best appeals talk about an immediate need, and the more dire it is, the better.

That tenet goes against all our messaging, which is...

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How to Self-Edit Your Fundraising Writing

Some things just go better together...

... peanut butter and jelly
... Scooby-Doo and Shaggy
... the Covid vaccine and your left arm

Writing and editing are two peas in a pod, too.

Putting words on the page is an ugly task. (You should see this blog post in its first draft. It ain't pretty. )...

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