This blog post is intended to help you craft your message. If you find this helpful, please tweet it, Facebook it, re-blog it, and comment on it. Okay, I’ll get on with the how to!
How do readers read on the web? The answer – they don’t.
- Jakob Nielsen, web content guru
I bet you won’t read this entire blog post. You’ll skim, looking for specific information and stopping at words that catch your eye. That’s how the majority of people–especially Gen Ys–read on the internet. Keep this in mind. Oh, you have 20 seconds to get someone’s attention and compel them to take action. Can you do it? Of course you can!
- Choose a project that is easy to understand.
It is very important that people “get it” right away. People viewing your project are unfamiliar with your organization and what you do.
Writing the Intro
(this appears on the Fundchange homepage)
1. Give it a catchy title.
2. Write a brief but interesting summary. Include a call to action.
This is viewed on our homepage and may be your only chance to catch someone’s attention. Make it count.
Here are a few ideas to make the summary interesting:
- tell people something they don’t know
- ask a question (word it so that there is not a ‘no’ answer) and reveal the answer when they click the project
Writing the Project Pitch
1. Use simple words.
Do not use jargon. Use words that are shorter and familiar; they are easier to understand. Write as if you are writing to a grade 8.
Ever been to a gourmet restaurant where you order a burger and fries because you can’t understand what on earth the other items are–no matter how amazing they may be? Your project is amazing and really important, but if no one can understand it, they won’t support it.
2. Write in short sentences.
Aim for 17 words. That’s what the professionals say is easiest for humans to read. Keep your paragraphs to a few lines. Anything longer is not likely to be read online.
3. Include a call to action in the first paragraph and at least more time.
What do you want people to do? Donate. Like. Tweet. Vote. You’ve got to tell people how to make a difference.
4. Tell a story.
People can relate to stories, especially stories of other people. They are easy to follow and interesting to read. Stories are a wonderful way to evoke emotion–a major motivation for giving.
Prove that the project is urgently needed, what the project will solve, and what will happen without the project. Turn the reader into a hero.
5. Suggest an amount to give (and a reason to give that amount). Tie it into the story.
For example, $25 will build a little girl’s self-esteem so she doesn’t grow up hating herself. (current problem: no self-esteem, future problem: self-hatred, solution: give $25 to build self-esteem and prevent future problem)
6. Give a P.S. a try.
It works in direct mail and people tend to read the p.s. before the body.
7. Include pictures and video.
Project pitches that include a video are more likely to receive funding than those without. It’s a great way to tell your story.
You can’t just ask someone to give based on stats and the nonprofit’s mission. Instead, show people why you care, why it is important to you, and why you believe they should care. How has this issue impacted your life? As a nonprofit find a person to tell this story as opposed to communicating from the ivory tower. Geoff Livingston
Things to Remember
- Keep it Simple.
- Use numbers instead of percentages. Its easier to visualize 1 in 4 than it is to picture 25%.
- Make it relatable.
- Establish the credibility of your organization. People need to trust you before they give you money.
- Prove the project is needed. What is life like without this project?
- Give people hope!
- Tell a story.
- Use emotion.
- Let your passion shine through so that other people feel inspired.
- Include calls to action.
- Say Thank You–always thank people.
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