Tuto­r­i­al 3: What makes a suc­cess­ful letter-writer?

A suc­cess­ful let­ter-writer must over­come human iner­tia by putting words on paper. A tough job!

Written by
Jerry Huntsinger
February 26, 2019

Good letter-writers are extremely rare, but here’s how you can spot one.

Look for:

  • An enthusiastic person who really understands human nature and has the capacity to get excited about a new discovery, or angry about injustice, or appalled at poverty.
  • A good writer must be a psychologist and must understand the basic drives of personality.
  • A good writer must be able to deal in universal feelings – not just his or her own personal feelings. Whenever you hear someone say, ‘I would never read that kind of letter’, you know right away that person is still thinking subjectively, rather than objectively.
  • Look for a person who can tell a straightforward story with a beginning, middle and an end. A lot of writers can string together long words, but a good fundraising writer must be able to tell a story.

One major purpose of these tutorials is to help writers learn the techniques of storytelling and discover how to get outside their own skin and motivate people – all by putting words on paper.

© SOFII Foundation 2010-2014.

About the author: Jerry Huntsinger

Jerry Huntsinger is revered in direct marketing circles as the dean of direct mail. 

Some years back Jerry gifted his archive of direct mail tutorials to SOFII and we’ve been serialising them ever since. All 50-plus are gems. Together, they add up to a complete ‘how-to’ guide to everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising.

These tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen_Chapman.jpg#asset:8990:urlGwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa. She explains the importance to these tutorials here.

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