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Resources – Newsletter Archive

August, 2007

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." The August 2007 issue gives a specific tool for finding out how to convey the heart and soul of your mission to donors in your fundraising copy. And the hot tips section has a live example of fundraising copy.

     Each issue - which you can read in 3 to 5 minutes - has a main article, a hot tips section, a charitable quote just for fun, and perhaps another item or two tucked in. Everything this humble copywriter shares is for the purpose of making your work as a fundraising professional a bit easier.

Dig Deep to Find the Heart Strings for Your Fundraising Copy [498 words]

     How do you reach your donor’s heart strings when your mission is a museum, a symphony, an opera or anything related to the cultural or performing arts? After all you’re not curing a sick child or feeding the poor. But your mission is very important nonetheless.

     Today I’ll share techniques any nonprofit can use in their fundraising copy using examples from cultural missions.

     Viewing a masterful painting; listening to the music of the ages; or watching a stage performance all arouse emotions in your patrons. Emotions such as passion, sympathy, joy, love, optimism, and happiness to name a few. You might inspire dreams; satisfy a burning curiosity; help someone relive a fond memory; bring peace to their heart; or revitalize their spirit.

     But you need to know exactly how your patrons feel so you can include those emotions and stories in your copy. This will inspire more readers to donate generously. And the best way to find out how they feel is to ask them.

     Ask the people who visit your museum. Talk to people during the opera’s intermission or as they’re leaving. Base the tone of your letter on their answers. Also include testimonials when it makes sense to do so.

     People tend to give “fluffy” superficial answers. Therefore, only when you ask a series of questions that probe deeper and deeper will you find nuggets to stir the heart strings of your readers.

     For example:

A symphony, play or opera

What did you enjoy most?
Why did that mean so much to you?
Why did you enjoy that part of the play so much?

What were your favorite parts?
How did that make you feel?
Were you thinking about anything special as you watched/listened? Did we trigger any memories or spark any images in your mind?

A museum

What did you like best about our museum?
What did it mean for you to visit us today?
How is it that special to you?

What did you learn today?
Why is that important to you?
How did you feel or what were you thinking about at that moment?

Did you participate in any of the special events we held today?
Why did you choose that one?
Why is that important to you?

     Tell the person you’re interviewing that you’re asking for a favor – you’re asking for their help so you can do a better job of sharing the story and getting support for your organization. A similar pattern of questions can be applied to any nonprofit mission.

     Yes, donors give to causes that help the needy and the sick. But many also want to help enrich lives in another way through the arts and culture. You provide a special fulfillment critically needed: Your mission brings balance to our lives. These are all reasons why readers donate to your organization.

     And to get all the support you need you must also tell compelling, emotional stories. Dig deep for the emotion and your fundraising efforts will be rewarded.

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Just for fun - a quote for you

"To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it." (Mother Teresa)

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Have a Burning Question? [165 words]

     How else can I make your job easier? Please don’t be shy. Don’t hesitate to tell me how I can serve you better.

     The purpose of my newsletter is to give you – a fundraising professional – tools, ideas, and resources to make your fundraising efforts easier. And directly answering the challenges you face is an ideal way to make this newsletter relevant for you.

     Please send your questions TODAY. Send them right now to this address. Take a few minutes and rattle them off before something distracts you.

     And thanks for subscribing to "Karen's Fundraising Tips" newsletter!


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Hot Tip of the Month – Example of Strong Copy for a Cultural Mission [218 words]

     This example is taken from a regional symphony. The purpose of this example is to illustrate one way to evoke more emotion and interest in your copy.

     In the copy sent to me from the organization, all the text describing the concert – what the audience would be listening to – was limited this… [Date] concert – Ecstatic Visions "a trio of rapturous Romantic and Post-Romantic works."

     I dug deeper. I found out exactly what was being performed and wrote this:

Ecstatic Visions is a marvelous end to our season. This concert features a trio of Romantic and Post-Romantic works by Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Respighi. The diversity and powerful orchestration in these works will stimulate an enormous breadth of emotions in you.

Ravel glorifies the Viennese waltz in La Valse through a powerful expressive message. And Respighi’s Vetrate di chiesa (Church Windows) brilliantly introduces Gregorian mode while depicting religious events in the stained glass windows of Italian churches.

The third work is Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35. This concerto teems with an abundance of gorgeous melodies to feature the triumphant return of violinist – [name of violinist].

     This is an excerpt from a letter sent to lapsed donors and it received a very favorable response. Donors respond to emotion and vivid descriptions. And emotion is part of every nonprofit mission.


Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

     1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

     2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Thanks for joining me and until next time . . . talk to your donors, patrons, and whoever directly benefits from your mission. Dig deep and find out how they feel in their heart and in their gut. Then convey those powerful emotions and stories in your fundraising copy.

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? I’d love to explore the possibilities with you. Call or send me an email today. I look forward to helping your mission prosper!


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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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