Presenter: Dalya F. Massachi - Grassroots Institute for Fundraising

Report
WRITING TO
MAKE A
DIFFERENCE:
The Art & Craft of
Turning Your
Words into Ca$h
Presenter: Dalya F. Massachi
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
1
Writing To Make a Difference:
25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your
Community Impact
(special discount here!)
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
2
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. Identify the essential elements of effective
social justice-focused fundraising &
outreach materials
2. Refer to lessons and creative ideas from
community-minded organizations’ materials
3. Take away valuable on-the-spot feedback
on your own materials
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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3 BIG
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
1. Writing can be hard — but with
practice and feedback it gets easier
and more fun.
2. There’s a lot of expertise in the room; let’s use it to
help each other.
3. Reminder: This is not an individual coaching
session. Please keep questions relevant to all.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
4
MY BACKGROUND:
As a nonprofit writer for nearly 20
years, I’ve authored a host of
articles, proposals, websites,
scripts, brochures, etc…
including column on:
OpportunityKnocks.org
…and contributed to
6 books (3 shown here).
From 2000-2004, I was the
Founding Director of BAIDO.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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DEFINITION, ANYONE?
0
FUNDRAISING/OUTREACH
MATERIALS:
Written pieces (printed or online) that share info
and enthusiasm about your work with interested
people who may want to exchange their support
for the benefits and value you offer.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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TOP DOCUMENTS
I. Introductory materials
1. Mission/vision statement
2. Brochure/business card
3. Event flyer
4. Tip sheet/Fact sheet
II. Periodicals
5. Newsletter
6. Annual report
7. Special report/white paper
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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TOP DOCUMENTS
III. Mailing for Moolah
8. Case statement
9. Fundraising appeal letter
10. Thank you note
11. Grant Proposal/Letter of Intent
12. Grant Report
IV. Cyber-writing
13 .Everyday email/discussion list
14. E-newsletter
15. Website/blog
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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3 KEY
FUNDRAISING/
OUTREACH STRATEGIES
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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STRATEGY #1:
ADVANCE YOUR BRAND
 What your work stands for
 What you want to be known for
 Your essence or identity
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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YOUR UNIQUENESS:
So powerful that it cuts through inertia, gets
noticed, and gets people talking about you.




Under-served clients, location, etc.
Outstanding credentials or experience
Extensive collaborations
Unusual point of view or approach
Ask yourself: When someone hears about your
work, what images, feelings, and ideas do you
want them to associate with you? What’s
amazing, special, and inspiring about your work?
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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EXAMPLE: Beyond Breast Cancer
Beyond Breast Cancer is different from
other breast cancer organizations in that we
focus on quality of life. While we do provide
needed medical information and referrals,
we emphasize living as fully as possible,
despite the disease. We acknowledge the
challenges and limitations of living with
breast cancer, and we believe that focusing
on activities that our clients are able to enjoy
cultivates a higher quality of life than might
otherwise be possible.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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WRITING WORKOUT
Brainstorm 5-7 words that you feel
describe the essence or personality of
your organization (branding words):
a) the unique value you add to your
community
b) the attitudes or ideals you hold dear
and want to be known for
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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STRATEGY #2:
ENGAGE SPECIFIC READERS
 Donors
 Clients
 Journalists
 Other Activists
 Researchers
 Web surfers
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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EXAMPLE: INVESTORS

Want to be inspired by your
vision of success

Have background, concern but may be unfamiliar
with your slant, niche, timing

Want to invest wisely in a trustworthy org

Often can get financially involved,
but for how much?
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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QUESTIONS/CONCERNS
ON THEIR MINDS
 How is the organization’s work related to
my needs or my community’s needs?
 Will my money benefit the organization’s actual
work, or will it support administrative overhead?
 What has been the impact of my past investments?
 Who else is already behind this?
 Do I already have a relationship with this organization?
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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DATA YOU NEED TO GATHER

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
Demographics
Geographic location
Limitations (time, income, education)
Values, hopes, and fears
Why they care about your issue and/or
org
What they already know or believe
Relationship to your organization or issue
Their related personal interests or hobbies
Information or tools they need to act
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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ASK WHAT THEY WANT
 What do they want from
reading your materials?
 What problems can you help them solve?
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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EXAMPLE:
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR
As a middle-school science teacher , you are always
looking for fresh, up-to-date material on today’s
pressing issues. With diminishing resources in our
public schools, you may find it increasingly difficult to
keep up with the times.
On the Envirokids website, you will discover a wealth of
high-quality classroom resources updated every
semester to reflect changing frontiers in the
environmental sciences. Get teaching materials that will
inspire your students with dozens of lively class
discussion starters, coupled with engaging and
educational indoor, outdoor, online, and offline
activities.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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HOW DO WE FIND OUT?
 Review event and service evaluation forms
 Take online or print surveys (with incentive)
 Hold focus groups



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Check web statistics
Attend gatherings where they congregate
Study published opinion polls
Review other online, broadcast, print media
that reflect their mindset
 Ask others who also know about them
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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STRATEGY #3:
EMPHASIZE BENEFITS
MORE THAN FEATURES
Feature: Component or
characteristic of what you offer
Benefit: How the features improve
the lives of people in your community
and satisfy their needs and desires
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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BENEFITS ANSWER THESE
QUESTIONS:

What does the organization’s work mean for your
community: personally, economically, spiritually,
emotionally, socially, etc.?

What will happen as a result of the particular
features you offer?

How does your work inspire, excite, entertain, or
educate your readers and community?

For each feature you offer, ask “So what?”
How does that lead to something better?

“What’s in it for me and us?”
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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WRITING WORKOUT
STEP 1: Draw a line down the center of a piece
of paper. On the left-hand side, write 3 features
of the work you do. Leave a few blank lines
between them.
STEP 2: On the right-hand side of the line of each
feature, write down at least 1 benefit to your
readers, the community and/or the
environment.: what does your work mean to
them: personally, emotionally, socially?
Consider your readers’ point of view and see
what difference those features will make in their
lives—as if they were asking you: “So what?”
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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POWERFUL
WRITING TECHNIQUES
“Good writing does not come from fancy word
processors or expensive typewriters or special
pencils or hand-crafted quill pens. Good writing
comes from good thinking.”
– Ann Loring
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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PRIORITY INFO
Facts and figures
Importance of the issue
Results you envision
 Solution you propose
Track record
www.dfmassachi.net
TIE BACK TO YOUR MISSION
AND VISION…REPEATEDLY

Evoke a vision of what
your community will be
like when your
organization succeeds in
fulfilling its mission.

Make sure you “connect
the dots” for your readers
over time in an ongoing
story of accomplishing
your mission.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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ENGAGE BOTH THE
HEART & THE HEAD
 Even left-brained people
need an emotional understanding
 Your reader will remember how you make her/him feel
more than anything else you say or do
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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POSITIVE HUMAN EMOTIONS
Appreciation
Belonging
Compassion
Dignity
Empowerment
Encouragement
Excitement
Inspiration
Joy
Love
Safety
Validation
Example
You want your children
to be safe and healthy.
You always use sunscreen
and they never leave home without warm
clothes on. You use seat belts.
But what about the pesticides sprayed near
the school playground your children use
every day? Let Parents for Playgrounds tell
you about what we have found...
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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SHOW YOUR PASSION
Ask yourself: What makes YOU most passionate
and inspired about your work?
Let it shine through:
Transcribe what you would say to a respected friend
Act the part of a host giving your readers a tour of
the best parts of your “home”
But don‘t dwell on details they don’t want to know.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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CONNECT PERSON-TO-PERSON
 Be reader-centered
 Think and write in terms
of “you” (the reader)
 Briefly communicate shared values,
needs, interests
 Use their language
 Make virtual housecalls
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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DESCRIBE YOUR SHARED
SOCIAL CONTEXT
 We’re all in this together”
(locality, event, culture,
history in common)
POP CULTURE
EXAMPLES
1. “This Modern
World” cartoons
 Socio-economic situation
2. Dilbert
 Realities of your readers’ 3. “This American
Life” on National
everyday lives
Public Radio
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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SHOW, DON’T JUST TELL


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Convey striking details
Use metaphors and similes
Show HOW your solution benefits folks
Use word pictures:
NOT “affordable housing and good nutrition”
BUT “roof and 3 healthy meals a day”
Ask yourself: How would you illustrate the
concept in a photo or video?
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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BEST EVER METAPHORS
AND SIMILES
(as taken from high school English papers)
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
2. The little boat gently drifted across the pond
exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
3. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair
after a sneeze.
4. John and Mary had never met. They were like
two hummingbirds who also had never met.
1.
(Source: Urban legend on the Internet)
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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“TAKE ME THERE,
MAKE ME CARE.”
What would reader want to know:
“Can you tell me about a time when X was true?”
“How did you feel when...?”
“Why do you think that?”
“What makes you care about that topic?”
“When did you first start thinking that, and how
did you come to that conclusion?”
“Can you compare that to an image or experience
that is more familiar to everyone?”
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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PUT NUMBERS IN CONTEXT
The Advocacy Institute and Berkeley
Media Studies Group: “social math”
Express numbers in terms of a familiar
social context
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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EXAMPLE
The Frameworks Institute used stats from U.S.
Dept. of Ed’s 2005 study, “Calories In, Calories
Out: Food and Exercise in Public Elementary
Schools,” and crafted this message:
“Exercise is something that children need
every day. But half of all students attend
schools that have reduced their phys ed class
to just one or two days per week. Part-time
fitness is no more effective than part-time
reading or math instruction.”
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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WARNING!
“Most people in Africa support their entire families on
the equivalent of what Americans spend on pet food.”
The audience heard:
“You want me to choose between my pets, whom I
love and care for, and people in other countries.”
Conclusion: “Paying attention to the values inherent in
your social math equation is an important
consideration in determining its effectiveness.”
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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SHARE STORIES

Use short quotes from people similar to your
readers or people they care about.
How have they benefited: results and
importance.
 Main characteristics of great stories:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Beginning, middle, end
Memorable characters
Interesting setting (time and place)
Compelling plot with conflict resolution
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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EXAMPLE
Juan Romagoza Arce:
“When I testified, a strength came over me. I felt
like I was in the prow of a boat and that there
were many, many people rowing behind—that
they were moving me into this moment. I felt that if
I looked back at them, I’d weep because I’d see
them again: wounded, tortured, raped, naked,
torn, bleeding.... Being involved in this case,
confronting the Generals with these terrible
facts—that’s the best possible therapy a torture
survivor could have.” (www.cja.org)
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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“With storytelling we enter the trance
of the sacred. Telling stories reminds
us of our humanity in this beautiful
broken world.”
– Terry Tempest Williams
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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CLASSIC STORYLINES
 Good vs. Evil, Good guys vs. Bad guys
 Underdog finds justice/wins (David vs. Goliath)
 Neighbors help each other (Good Samaritan)
 Rags to riches (poor to rich)
 Hero turns personal tragedy into community force
 Triumph of hard work (American Dream)
 What goes around comes around
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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STRESS YOUR UNIQUE
ROLE IN COLLABORATIVE
EFFORTS
How does your work fit into the larger picture?
EXAMPLE: Appeal letter from the Union of Concerned Scientists
Lead asks: “There are too many environmental groups. Why don’t
you folks work together?”
 Collaboration is a “guiding principle” for them.
 By joining, the reader “will be strengthening the entire
Environmental Movement.”
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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KEEP READER DIVERSITY IN
MIND
Clients, staff, investors,
board members, partners, and others can hold
different power relationships, and may understand
little about each other.
As writers, we need to be very aware of the impact
of our words
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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EMPHASIZE OUR
SIMILARITIES

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Health and well-being
Safety
A sense of belonging
Loving relationships
Education and opportunity
Self-esteem
Spiritual connection
Creativity
Striving to be our best
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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CHOOSE HOW TO REFER TO
SPECIFIC GROUPS
Ask yourself: What are you implying by using the
identification words you choose?

America vs. United States

Latino vs. Latino/a vs. Hispanic

Victim vs. Survivor

Client vs. beneficiary vs. partner vs. member

Community vs. population
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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LOOK OUT
FOR
You may need to
reclaim words and
phrases that have been
twisted:
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
100% natural
Green
Sustainable
Healthier
Family values
Free trade
Patriotic
Security
Terrorist
Subsidies
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THE LEAD
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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SOME IDEAS

Relate bold, unexpected, or controversial
statement or story (see example in handout)

Focus on one representative person or thing

Briefly paint a stunning or humorous word picture

Provide hints of a mystery unfolding

Summarize: who, what, when, where, why, how
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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DON’T START OUT WITH A
FOCUS ON “WE”
EXAMPLE
Original: We want to bring native plants back to
our community. But we need your help!
Suggested revision: Native plants bring many
benefits to our community and help avoid ecotrouble down the line. With just a few simple
steps, you can help improve our neighborhood’s
environment!
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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COMPLEMENT WITH GRAPHICS

Worth 1,000+ words, if used well. Photos,
charts, cartoons, maps, calendars, diagrams

Not just filling space as an afterthought

Short captions: summarize, ID left to right, doublecheck names, present tense vivid verbs

Photos: similar to your clients, members, and
readers accomplishing/benefiting from your
mission
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
51
ACTIVATE WITH YOUR ENDING!
“You have to hold your audience in writing to the very
end—much more than in talking, when people have to be
polite and listen to you.” — Brenda Ueland
Your “call to action”:

All the details they need

Easy ways to interact with you

Limited-time offer or deadline

Reminder of the benefits they will enjoy
if they act now
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
52
LET IDEAS GERMINATE
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to
get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon."
—Robert Cormier
 Wait at least 24 hours before starting
to revise.
 Try keeping a notepad & pen
on your nightstand. This invites
creative ideas to visit you.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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USE THE
EDITING CHECKLIST
See the handout!
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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CULTIVATE CONCISENESS:
LESS IS MORE
“Never use a longer word when
a short word will do.” -- Ben Franklin
 Sentences: 14-20 words max.
 No freeloading words; can you go without it?
 It’s all about the soundbites
KISSS: Keep It Short, Simple & Skimmable
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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PROOFREAD!

Check your document
for grammar,
punctuation, spelling,
and other slip-ups.

Always read your piece
out loud (even if it’s
only to yourself). Most
people hear words as
they read them, so your
words should roll off
the tongue.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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KEY CONCEPTS










Everything you write is for
fundraising/marketing
Advance your brand
Engage specific readers
Focus on benefits (not just
features)
FIRST priorities
Tie to mission, vision
Engage the heart & head
Show your passion
Describe your shared
context
Stress collaborative work













Share stories
Connect person-to-person
Keep diversity in mind
Look out for spin
Focus on your lead
Show, don’t just tell
Put numbers in context
Activate with your ending
Complement w/graphics
Let ideas germinate
Cultivate conciseness
Use the Editing Checklist
Proofread
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
57
WRITING WORKOUT
STEP 1:
Share your branding words and benefits
with your neighbor.
STEP 2:
Use them, the Editing Checklist, and the other concepts
we discussed today, to review the material you brought
in. Take on the role of an intended reader.
 What worked well?
 How can you improve?
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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More info on my website and at my exhibit.
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
59
MANY OTHER WAYS TO
IMPROVE YOUR RESULTS:

Free monthly newsletter (tips, resources)

Multi-session workshops: public and private

One-on-one writing coaching

Tune-ups of any document

Assessment of your org’s writing challenges,
recommended actions

Writing To Make a Difference (discount here!)
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
60
FINAL THOUGHT
"Find a subject you care about and which you in
your heart feel others should care about. It is this
genuine caring, not your games with language,
which will be the most compelling and seductive
element in your style.”— Kurt Vonnegut
©2010 Dalya F Massachi
www.dfmassachi.net
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