“It’s Too Easy to Read!” The One Complaint I’ve Never Heard from a Donor

In my 20 years of nonprofit work, there’s one complaint I have NEVER heard from a donor.

I’ve never heard a donor complain that something is too easy to read and understand.

But interestingly enough… that IS something a lot of organizations worry about.

The worry goes something like this:

  • “We don’t want donors to think we’re talking down to them!”
  • “That doesn’t sound like our executive director!”
  • “Our donors are different… they are educated!”

There’s a Steven Screen saying that I have on a sticky note next to my computer screen: “Nobody has to read your fundraising.”

Painful… but true!

If you don’t make your fundraising easy to read, most donors will stop trying.

That’s why you need to do the work to make your fundraising communications easy to read.

When you make your fundraising communications easy to read and understand, more donors will read. And that will lead to you raising more money.

Here are three simple things you can do to make your communications easier to read.

  • Use short sentences.
  • Use words that are easy to understand (and limit organizational jargon!).
  • Don’t be afraid of sentence fragments or starting a sentence with And or But.

Here’s the thing…

This has nothing to do with how smart your donors are. Your donors ARE smart – I get it! But your donors are busy, and they have a bunch of things competing for their attention at any given moment.

So… you must do the hard work to make things simple and easy to understand.

It’s worth it – I promise!

Before I go, I want to share a free resource you can use to help you make your fundraising communications easy to understand. I use it all the time!

https://hemingwayapp.com/

Copy and paste your text and Hemingway will assign a reading level and highlight complex sentences. Aim for a 6th – 7th grade reading level.

When you do the hard work to make your fundraising communications easy to read and understand, your donors are more likely to give. It’s that simple! Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Find me on Twitter @sarahlundberg.

Sarah Lundberg

Sarah is a Fundraising Advisor with Better Fundraising. She has been part of the nonprofit world for over 18 years, most recently as Director of Marketing and Communications at an international ministry. Sarah loves helping organizations see what’s possible when they put proven fundraising practices into place.

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