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Member, Association of Fundraising Professionals
Member, American Society of Association Executives
Resources – Newsletter Archive

May, 2006

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips" newsletter. On the second Tuesday of each month I share tips, news items, and resources all tailored for the non-profit world and folks directly responsible for raising funds.

My goal is to make your job a little easier and to help you increase your donor contributions. I also intend to write a newsletter that you can read in three to five minutes - tops.

When chatting with clients and prospects, I ask if it's "okay for me to keep in touch from time to time and pass on helpful information." So you're receiving this either because you graciously answered yes to my question, or you "opted in" from the web.

What exactly can you expect? Well, I'll share one main tip and keep it brief. Brief means 300-500 words. This will be followed by either the "Story of the Month" or the "Hot Issue of the Month." This second item will be even shorter - one or two paragraphs. Enough said – I hope - on to my newsletter ...

How to Write Compelling Stories from Masterful Interviews (Part 2)
[494 words]

My April issue focused on discovering how the interviewee feels. Regardless of who you're interviewing, your overall goal is to find the heart of the story. In this issue we go for the fascinating details of the story. [It may help to review the April Premier issue; link located right after the end of this article.]

Second masterful interview tip:

• With each answer the interviewee gives, drill down at least two levels and preferably three or four. This not only reveals the stronger emotions I talked about last month, but it also reveals vital details to give a story depth.

People tend to give "surface" answers. We don't naturally go into the depth with our answers that a good non-fiction writer does, for example. But these details and deep feelings are the priceless critical elements of a compelling story.

So, in Part 1 we probed for deep inspiring emotion. In Part 2 we dig for gems of information. Both tips are used simultaneously. The facts and details add captivating depth. And you weave powerful emotions in between to create a compelling story.

Each situation is unique. However, the basic style and order of the questions could follow this format:

  • Tell me about (e.g., your typical day).
  • What's the most difficult thing you face?
  • Why is getting water for your family so hard?
  • How do you feel when you finish hauling the water?
  • What if there was a water well in the center of your village?
  • Besides not hauling water up from the river, in what other ways would life be better with a water well?
  • I'd love to hear more about that. (Explore answers for specifics essential to painting a powerful picture with words; you may repeat this cycle a number of times).

Another sequence of questions might be:

  • Why are you so much happier now?
  • How does that make you feel?
  • Why is it so important to feel this way rather than how you felt before?
  • How is what you're doing now so different?
  • What is it you like best about your new experience?

Overall, let them tell their story and make notes. Then select specific points that caught your attention. Now start to drill down. Again, you'll repeat this "drill down" technique several times to uncover all the gems.

As you ask questions and drill down at least two levels for every answer, you may need to vary your questions. A lot depends on the flow of the conversation. But if you don't, it can be too repetitious for the interviewee. By the way, it's not uncommon for me to drill down four or five levels.

The skill of discovering the deep emotion and captivating details of a story takes time to develop. However, it pays tremendous dividends.

Including powerful stories from masterful interviews in your fundraising campaigns will raise greater donations so your mission growth accelerates. The reward is that you'll be able to reach out to even more people who need your help.

After you finish reading my newsletter, I invite you to follow this link:

Here you'll find an example illustrating the use of both masterful tips taken from an actual direct mail letter.

Note: To read Part 1 from the Premier April 2006 issue, please click here.

Hot Issue of the Month
[101 words]

I'm eager to share exciting news! I recently attended a summit for copywriters and marketing professionals - an investment in my on-going professional development.

Anyway, at the Clayton Makepeace 2006 Power Marketing Summit, I was announced as a recipient of the "2006 Copywriter's Challenge" award (3rd place category). Competition was keen, including some of the leading copywriters of the country.

The announcement was made during the Gala Banquet on Friday evening. The Power Marketing Summit was held April 20-22, 2006 at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. I admit feeling pretty darn great after hearing the news. Okay, enough about me.

Question for me?

Is there a topic you'd like me to cover in a future issue? Click on the link to send me your question:

Thanks for joining me and until next time . . .

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

Have a project coming up soon? I’d love to work with you on it. Just get in touch and we'll explore the possibilities together.


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Call anytime and we’ll chat about your needs: 800-794-1609
I look forward to helping you prosper.

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