Is it Clear?
What is your intention? What message are you sending to your readers? Are you asking for a donation, thanking them, or informing them? Whatever it is, make sure your message is clear.
If you have a call to action, that needs to be clear as well. You want your message to produce results. For example, your fundraising letter should generate a donation.
Make sure you use language your readers will understand (no jargon). Just because something is clear to you, doesn’t mean it will be clear to others. Terms such as capacity building or direct service are used a lot in the nonprofit world, but may not mean anything to your donors.
Is it Concise?
Can you say more with less? Eliminate any unnecessary adverbs, adjectives, and filler. Get to the point right away. Concise writing doesn’t mean you need to be terse, or that all of your materials have to be one page. Sometimes they will need to be longer, but the same rules apply. Make all your words count.
Is it Conversational?
Write as if you are having a conversation with your reader, and be personable. Most of your communications and fundraising material can be written in the second person – where you refer to the reader as you and your organization as we.
Avoid using jargon, clichés, multi-syllable words, and the dreaded passive voice. You may think you are impressing your readers by using jargon and big words, but you are most likely confusing them or even worse, alienating them.
Is it Compelling?
Is whatever you are writing going to capture someone’s attention and keep them interested throughout? Start with a good opening sentence. Leading with a question is often good.
Stories are also great. Put a human face on your stories and keep statistics to a minimum. You could start a fundraising letter with a story that leads to a call to action.
Of course, you should always be on the lookout for typos and grammatical errors, but keep these 4 C’s in mind to help ensure that you create good content that will give you the results you want.