“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!


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.

Quick Note on Type Size

Using larger type in your fundraising materials is both smart and the right thing to do.

Here’s what Health.gov says about type size:

“Choose a font that’s at least 16 pixels, or 12 points. If many of your users are older adults, consider using an even larger font size — 19 pixels or 14 points. A small font size is more difficult to read, especially for users with limited literacy skills and older adults.”


Using larger type is smart because it’s proven to be more readable (especially for older adults). 

When your fundraising is more readable, more of it gets read.

When more of your fundraising gets read, you raise more money.

So using large, easy-to-read type is smart fundraising because you’ll raise more money for your cause.

The Right Thing to Do

Using larger type is also the right thing to do.  It makes your fundraising more accessible to more people. 

In the same way that having a strong mass donor fundraising program is good for your organization’s DEI efforts, so is using easy-to-read type.

Use larger type – don’t accidentally put up a barrier between your organization and older adults!