Your work, as a charity, improves lives. Maybe it even saves them. So telling people about your work to inspire donations, volunteers and eventers and share your vital messages is crucial.
But sometimes you don’t have time to craft the lines you know you need. Or, sometimes – hands-up – words just aren’t your thing.
That’s ok. Because there are experts in charity copywriting who can help.
Here’s how to find a good one.
Expect their work to be rooted in human stories, feelings and emotions: You may have an impressive set of statistics about the success of your charity’s work. But an experienced charity copywriter will ask you to express the need for – and benefits of – your work in real stories about real people. It’s what people care about, deep down.
For example, how many of you felt compelled to act over the Syrian refugee crisis last year when you saw that photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying lifeless on a beach in Turkey. I’d heard countless media reports about the vast numbers of refugees fleeing the country and drowning in the Mediterranean. But it was that photo about the plight of one little boy that finally compelled me to ransack my kitchen and head to the shops to buy items the aid agencies said they needed.
Understand the ‘feel good factor’ that drives people to donate, volunteer or take part in an event: Sometimes it’s an overwhelming sense of empathy that compels us to act, like in the Syrian refugee crisis example above. But often we get involved with a charity because it’s fun. I once dressed as (half a) pantomime horse to help break a Guinness World Record for the largest number of pantomime horses running 100 metres live on national TV to help raise awareness of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
I believe, wholeheartedly, in the work the BHF does. But, if I’m totally honest, that belief was secondary to my desire simply to break a world record dressed as a pantomime horse live on TV. Your charity copywriter should know when and where it’s appropriate – and necessary – to dial up the fun in your copy.
Be able to write across platforms: Whether it’s web copy, social media posts, direct mail or policy reports, your charity copywriter should be able to tailor your messages to suit the platform they appear on. Digital content should be SEO optimised and everything should include clear calls to action.
Strengthen your charity brand through tone of voice: Charities often work across a far more varied and complex set of audiences than many businesses. For example, one minute you could be talking to people sleeping rough who may have mental health issues or drug and alcohol addictions. The next, you’re lobbying politicians and influencing service commissioners. And in another, you’re reaching out to supporters and members of the public to help bolster your work.
The real value in a great charity copywriter is their ability to flex language through tone of voice, so your messages sound right to very different groups without losing any of your core charity brand values or that sense of ‘belonging’ to you.
If you want charity copywriting support, contact us about Jenny, an experienced former journalist and charity communications specialist.