Sameness is the death of nonprofit copy

in Copywriting - Nonprofit,Marketing for Nonprofits

Does the copy on your nonprofit website read the same as everyone else’s?  Do your emails look like clones from other charities or associations? 

If you write like every other nonprofit … if everything you do looks the same as everyone else … what you’re announcing to the world is that what you do is just like everyone else

In effect you’re saying … “There’s no reason why someone should support our charity versus another.  There’s no reason why someone should join our marketing association versus another.  We’re all the same.  Just flip a coin to choose.”

Sameness in your nonprofit copy and marketing is life-threatening. 

By that I mean that it keeps you hidden.  You don’t stand out.  You’re not unique.  As a result your direct mail letter is tossed after five seconds.  Your website is abandoned after three seconds.  Response is extremely low which drives down revenue.  And that threatens the business life of your nonprofit.

Don’t be a wall flower in the marketplace.  Avoid sameness.  Instead let the passion you feel for your mission shine through in your copy. 

First impressions are critical.  And words – the copy – often form the first impression prospects, donors and members have of your nonprofit.  They might be reading it on the web, in a direct mail letter, on Facebook, or somewhere else.  Sure design also plays an important role.  But copy trumps design and I’m not saying that just because I’m a copywriter. 

Top-notch graphic designers who understand the interaction between copy and design will tell you this: Design enhances copy.  Design sets it off and adds emphasis but copy sells.  Therefore the copy has priority.  And yes, you are selling your nonprofit mission with everything you do.   

 Good copy includes these characteristics:

Clear, concise and distinctive

Paints a vivid picture for the reader

Irresistible.  Each headline, sentence and subhead draws the reader further into the copy.

Doesn’t get hung up on political correctness which can easily be carried too far (It usually ADDS ambiguity; lowers response)

Tells a great story

Has some personality and sounds human (Translation: Forget most of what you learned in school.)

Inspires readers to take action because you stand out from the crowd, and maybe it’s even FUN to read

Think about this: If every radio channel played the same music would you ever change the channel?  No!  There’s no decision to make because it’s all the same and therefore no reason to change the channel.  You might even stop listening and go buy music CDs instead.  You might abandon radio altogether.

Don’t encourage your donors or members to abandon your nonprofit.  Let your uniqueness and passion explode from the page.  Stay alive and growing by avoiding sameness in your nonprofit copy.