Six tips for writing effective charity copy
Your charity does amazing things. You know this, we know this – but do your potential donors or volunteers know this?
While it is true that we live in an increasingly visual world, it is important not to underestimate the enduring power of persuasive writing. It (literally) pays to spend time on crafting your copy.
In this blog we give six essential copywriting tips to help you raise awareness and bring in funding for your cause.
Know your audience
Before you put digit to key, the most important question should always be ‘who am I writing for and why?’ We all care about different causes. In most cases our interests are dictated by our characteristics and life experiences. Think carefully about what demographic you are writing for and how best to engage, gain the trust and motivate this audience.
Harness the power of human stories
Mastering the art of emotional engagement is vital for any copywriter, none more so than for those of us working with and for charities. One of the most effective ways to do this is through focussing on human stories. Try to find a simple, memorable story that encapsulates the work that your organisation does and the impact it makes (to a charity marketer this should be the holy grail). Whenever possible, try to include direct quotes from your beneficiaries or clients. This not only makes your copy more emotionally engaging but also helps to build trust with your audience.
Choose your stats wisely
While an excessive use of numbers may be a turn-off, carefully chosen and positioned statistics can both hook readers in and motivate them to act. Statistics can be used both to show your charity fully understands an issue and to succinctly convey the impact of your own work.
Keep it simple
When we are passionate about a cause, it is tempting to tell people everything about the need for our work and the impact we make. Equally, for lovers of words, it may be frustrating to be told to tone down your language. However, with attention getting shorter, complex arguments and florid prose are better kept for elsewhere. Ask yourself what your reader really needs to know and be ruthless with the rest.
Spend time on your subject line
We’ve all done it. Worked for hours honing our perfect piece of copy and then quickly cobbled together a subject line or title. However, as the tabloids have proven year on year out, a bold, controversial or catchy headline can make a huge difference. Infact, this is why professional headline writers exist! A good starting point when writing title or headline is to follow the ‘4 R’s’: Urgent, Unique, Useful, and Ultra-specific.
Time and tailor your ask
Think of each paragraph you write as part of your reader’s journey, a journey that leads to your call to action. Charities too often describe their groups’ activities and then tag on a quick, loosely related call-to-action at the end.
If we want people to donate, volunteer their time, or share our message, you need to consider when the most effective time will be to ask for their support (i.e. at what point your reader will be most motivated to act). Sometimes, this may be at the start to instill a sense of urgency; other times it will come towards the end after having made a robust argument for your cause.
And remember, the call-to-action itself should be as simple, persuasive and specific as possible.
Writing great copy will always be as much about magic as maths. However, following these six tips will go a long way to helping you attract the supporters, donors or fundraisers you need!