The Written Word is Not Dead

Blog Post by: Krista Elmore, CFRE

We are fortunate to live in an era full of technology and a seemingly endless amount of ways to communicate with one another. This was especially useful in the past year while the pandemic loomed and our ability to see each other in person was limited. For nonprofits, though, the most effective and important way to stay connected with their followers, donors, and communities was through the written word. The revival of writing is here!

My coworker and friend, Ashlee Meier, is exploring the power of written communication in her online course this week called, “The Art of the Ask.” This course is intended as a series, one that will explore the different avenues of communication we, as fundraisers and nonprofits, have available to us to make an ask of significance. This first course, in particular, is exploring the art of written communication and the utilization of social media, two of the most important ways you, as a nonprofit, can communicate with your constituency. 

I won’t share all of Ashlee’s insights or secret sauce that she’ll cover in her course, but from my own perspective, below are a few suggestions and favorite ways to incorporate writing into your daily communications that will make a positive impact in your nonprofit. 

  1. Read. The best way to improve your writing is to read the writing of others. By reading, you can expand your vocabulary, learn about proper grammar and punctuation, and identify the styles of writing that resonate with you.
  2. Practice. I love the phrase, “practice makes perfect.” The more you write, the more easily it will come to you. Especially when writing in a professional, persuasive voice that is often needed in communication pieces that support the nonprofit, it isn’t always the same voice you might use when writing a personal letter to a friend. Give yourself some time to practice and…
  3. Edit. I often find it helpful to write a first draft, edit it, then send it onto a coworker (or multiple coworkers) to also take a pass at editing. To paraphrase a common saying, many eyes make editing easier. To make this process even easier, consider using a program that will allow you to edit and update in real time, like Google Docs or Microsoft Teams. 

Take the time to write compelling letters, emails, and social media posts to outreach to your constituents. Active, engaging communication is the best way to attract, engage, and inspire your followers. 

To learn more about effective communication, be sure to check out “The Art of the Ask” on Thursday, May 20th. If you are a nonprofit in need of a sponsorship to this course, please email me at ASAP.