A Short Note for Writers

Here’s a tip our writers use as they work on donor communications:

Use verb tense to help take your donors on a journey.

And here’s what that looks like:

  • When Asking for support (appeals, e-appeals, events) use the future simple tense to describe what the donor’s gift will do: “Your gift will help…”
  • When Thanking for a gift (receipt letters, thank you notes) use the present continuous tense: “Your gift is helping…”
  • When Reporting back to donors (newsletters, e-news) use the past simple tense: “Your gift helped…”

It’s a subtle – but powerful – way of communicating to a donor that their gift matters and that it made a difference.

This post is excerpted from the Better Fundraising e-book “Storytelling for Action.” Download it for free, here. 


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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