Why Easier to Understand Wins Every Time in Direct Mail Copy


When you’re writing fundraising copy, before you add a sentence, explain more, or tweak what you’ve already written… stop and ask this question.

Does this make it easier to understand or harder to understand?

It can be so tempting to complicate things. Explain the extenuating circumstances. Explore the nuances. Add something interesting but only loosely related.

But then you end up with something that is harder for your donors to understand.

As a professional fundraising copywriter, I ask myself this question all the time. It keeps me focused on what’s important to my reader, not just what’s important to me.

Here’s something you can try that might make it easier to write things for donors to read. Imagine you ARE your donor.

Do you ever wake up and think, “Hey, I’d like to read something really complicated today – where I have to read every sentence three times – and then I’m STILL wondering what’s happening?”

Probably not.

This is especially true if it’s something you don’t have to read.

When it comes to donors who are busy and moving fast, easier to understand wins out over harder to understand every time.

By the way, this also means easier to understand leads to more donations when you ask donors to give. Because donors must understand what you need before they’ll give.

Now we’re talking!

So next time you sit down to write fundraising copy, don’t forget this important question: does this make it easier to understand or harder to understand?

Bonus idea! Easier to understand vs. harder to understand is also important when you’re editing fundraising writing, planning a presentation, or communicating with donors in any way.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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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