If you go by the topics of books that are sold to fundraisers, you might get the impression that the most important skill for someone who wants to raise funds is excellent writing.
The reason for that: Most books are written by writers. And most writers wisely follow the dictum, Write what you know.
Writing is an important skill for fundraising, but it's not the most important. It's not even #2. It's somewhere around #5.
Here are some of the things that have more impact than good writing:
- Audience. Having a group of people who resonate with your cause. Knowing who they are. Knowing how to find them.
- Segmentation. Among your supporters, you know whom to ask, when, how often, how much, by what means, and for what topics.
- Offer. Knowing what your supporters and prospects are most likely to support. You've got the language and amounts dialed in.
- Plan. You know well in advance whom you are going to ask, in what media, how much it's going to cost, what your likely returns are.
You've probably seen jaw-droppingly bad fundraising writing that's succeeding. That's because it's doing well on at least some of the things that matter more than good writing.
And the greatest writing on the planet can't rescue your fundraising if you're getting the other stuff wrong.
I hope whoever writes your fundraising writes well. But I hope even more you have the bigger stuff under control.