Whether they seek to feed the homeless or stop global warming, creating content for nonprofit organizations is some of the most heartwarming and gratifying work a freelance writer can do. While nonprofits occasionally hire legal writers, technology specialist or other niche content creators, the majority of jobs in this field involve crafting persuasive pieces.
Often writers need to describe a mission, court donors, inspire volunteers and raise community awareness, all in 500 short words. It can be a tall order, but it all comes down to the same two phrases we were all taught in Kindergarten when we were learning to share our crayons. Every freelance writer working with clients in the nonprofit industry need to know how to say, “Please” and “Thank you.”
Balance emotions and facts
A little boy with cerebral palsy learned to walk after months of therapy. A single mom got a new job to support her family after receiving training and job coaching. Every nonprofit has emotional stories to tell and freelance writers can give those tales a voice. The tide of storytelling, from problem to service and finally results, can carry a reader towards taking action. But, for a story to be truly powerful, it must be supported by facts. How many people fact the same situation? What does it cost to provide the service? How many people can be reached each year? Weaving emotions and facts together creates the complete picture needed to ask, “Please.”
Focus on the reader
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone gave from their heart, simply because it was a good thing to do? It does not work that way. Volunteers, donors and even readers want and need to benefit from their association with the organization, whether it’s through giving time or money, or just reading content.
To hold a reader’s attention and convince them to take action, flip the usual script. Rather than focusing solely on the organization’s mission and needs, give attention to what benefits they provide to supporters. For donors, it might be a tax deduction, a sense of pride, or advertisement for their own business. Volunteers are often looking to learn a new skill, add something to their resume or meet new people. Whatever the benefit is, showcasing it is a big part of saying, “Please.”
Focus on results
Donors, volunteers and community supporters may come to the organization for their own reasons, but they often develop a powerful connection along the way. Before long, the real benefit is the impact they are aiding. Showcasing results, in the form of both personal stories and statistics, is an effective way to thank supporters by reminding them that these results would not be possible without them. Beyond showing gratitude, displaying results within content gives legitimacy to the work of the organization and encourages current supporters to continue their efforts while also demonstrating why new supporters should join the cause.
Michelle S has over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit industry in both fundraising and volunteer management. She loves to chat about the causes and organizations that she works with. But, be forewarned; she will probably ask you to donate time, money or a little of both.