The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irre­sistible Communications

Written by
Jeff Brooks
January 15, 2014

Book review

The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications by Jeff Brooks

Reviewed for SOFII by Roger Craver

Overcoming your education

Somewhere early on in my career as a copywriter I discovered that virtually every client who could read also thought she or he could write.

The result? Never-ending red pencil attempts to delete all sentences ending with a preposition…complete incomplete paragraphs…excise colloquialisms and plain talk…and, of course, add infinite amounts of meaningless institutional bow-wow verbiage on why organisation XYZ did what it did better than anyone else.

Had I not fought back and repelled their efforts the results would have been financially disastrous. I hope you will do the same and there’s some mighty powerful help at hand.

It’s a virtual truism that each generation of copywriters and fundraisers must fight the same battles over and over again. Boards, CEOs, fundraisers change, but the DNA ain’t improving.

My friend and colleague Jerry Huntsinger, in his marvellous series appearing on SOFII, has fought and continues to fight the good fight for my generation and his guidance is as valuable as ever.

And now... the cavalry for the next generation has arrived. Enter Jeff Brooks and his new book, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money.

Those who read Jeff’s daily gem-filled missive Future Fundraising Now already know the treat you have in store. Part wit, part iconoclast, almost always spot on, Jeff is merciless on much of the foolishness – branding studies, focus groups, ‘creative’ advertising, laborious organisation-centred copy – that destroys effective fundraising.

Now he’s packed his proven strategies and pithy advice into a 143- page go-to resource. If you read and heed – and refer to it often – it’ll boost your career, your confidence and your revenue, or my name isn’t Jerry Huntsinger.

Seriously, like Jerry’s SOFII tutorials, Jeff’s guide will help you skip years of learning curve and get you writing, designing and thinking like a seasoned pro.

Nothing you read this year is likely to prove as important to your success as Jeff’s up-to-date focus on what truly matters – the donor.

At a time when too many pay lip service to becoming ‘donor-centric’ but fail to put it into practice, Jeff gives us the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of creating copy that puts the donor first and foremost. Here’s his advice:

‘Here’s what’s most important to remember. Post it on your wall. Tattoo it on your forearm: donors don’t give because your organization is great. They give because they themselves are great.’

Jeff’s focus never leaves the donor as he delivers practical advice on copywriting (long vs. short messages…grammar for fundraisers…the importance of being urgent…not to mention the importance of being plain, corny and obvious). You can preview the treasure trove that awaits you by clicking here to view the table of contents.

If you don’t do anything else today, take a moment and order this gem. In fact, order several copies – especially extras for your CEO, programme folk and key board members. I guarantee it’ll soon have a dog-eared, underlined and well-worn place on your bookshelf providing tested ammunition to counter all the copy-related nonsense you encounter.

About Roger Craver

Roger Craver, founder of Craver Matthews Smith in the USA, is a lifelong pioneer in applying mass communications and technologies to activism and fundraising. His groundbreaking work in fundraising has helped launch and sustain dozens of national and international organisations.

Today, Roger is the founder of DonorTrends, a company providing fundraising intelligence, predictive models and market research to the nonprofit and political communities. diMobile is his latest company, building mobile engagement applications for the next generation of activists and hell-raisers.

He is also the publisher of the Agitator.

About the author: Jeff Brooks

Jeff Brooks has served the nonprofit community for more than 30 years, working as a writer and creative director on behalf of a variety of organisations including CARE, World Vision, Feeding America, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, National Wildlife Federation, and many more. He blogs at Future Fundraising Now and Moceanic. In previous careers, he’s been an English teacher and a classical musician. He lives in Seattle in the USA.

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