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March 3, 2021

Fundraising Copywriters, Let Your Copy Cool Before Serving

Heroic Fundraising Featured Image_Pecan Pie in the Oven

If you write fundraising copy, one of the wonderful things you get to experience is the knowledge that your words touch people’s hearts deeply and profoundly enough to move them to empathy and action.

With nothing more than words on a page, you can help nonprofit organizations heal and save the sick, feed and house the hungry and homeless, protect vulnerable children, and change the world in so many impactful ways — one cause and one donor at a time.

You do this by telling a captivating, heartrending story, adding some persuasive details, demonstrating an urgent need, and making an undeniable call to action.

Writing a great fundraising appeal can be an emotionally charged experience. In fact, it should be. If you aren’t feeling it while you write it, the donor won’t feel it while they read it.

By the time you’ve finished conveying the passion of the organization’s cause, pulled the donor into the story, and invited her to help meet this urgent need — as the last period is added to the “P.S.” — you should be glowing. You deserve to feel that way!

But this is where it can get problematic.

Because in the glow of the moment, you may want to immediately hit the email send button, with copy attached, to share it with your immediate team and/or the organization as a whole.

Don’t do that.

In fact, go do something else. Anything else. Walk away from the copy.

It’s hard to do this. You’ve just bonded emotionally with this new copy. You’re in love. I get it. But for your writing (and your own good), let your copy sit unread for as long as possible — a day or two, if deadlines allow. Even a couple of hours will help.

When you read your copy after the glow of the moment has dissipated, in the cooler light of a day or two, you’ll see things to adjust, tweak, add, or eliminate altogether.

That copy you thought was perfect yesterday is showing its hidden blemishes today. But that’s okay. No one saw them but you. And now they can be fixed.

I recently went against my own advice. I finished writing a donation landing page, and as soon as I did, I sent it off for review. It came back with some notes and edits that made me do my best Homer Simpson “doh!” These were edits I would most likely have made had I let the copy sit for a period of time and gone over it again before sending it on its way.

Give your copy as much time as you can to fully bake and cool before serving it up.

It will taste better to you, the writer; to your organizations; and to their donors. And they will all come back hungry for seconds.

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