[Dalya's Note: This is an excerpt from my award-winning book, Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact.]
Back away from the practical specifics, and take a bit of a philosophical approach.
For instance, you and your readers might particularly value the physical and emotional health of young women; the dignity of refugees; the artistic expression of senior citizens; the conservation of wildlife in your region; the science education of middle school students; or waterways free of pollution.
Because of your shared values, you can make some basic assumptions about what your readers understand and agree on. In your written pieces, build on those assumptions about what works, what does not work, and what important beliefs should be upheld. You will naturally hit on the core thoughts and feelings your readers harbor, as they pertain to your mission and activities. (For more about shared essential concerns, check out Chapters 8, “Connect on a person-to-person level,” and 10, “Write with reader diversity in mind.”)
“Our organization focuses on ______ and we value ________________ . We believe our work is important in the world because ______________ .”
Our organization focuses on girls’ education around the world, and we value equal opportunity, economic and social development, and self-actualization for all. We believe our work is important in the world because an educated girl is more likely to grow up to create a healthier life for herself, her family, and her community than she otherwise might have. Decades of studies have shown us that girls’ education is the key to the economic development of communities and entire nations.
Many organizations explicitly integrate their values and guiding principles into their marketing materials.
As the key developer of the next generation of leaders, we believe higher education has the responsibility to provide graduates with the tools and knowledge to create a more just, prosperous and sustainable world.
Once you have identified what is most meaningful to your organization, those values and beliefs will inform the rest of your copywriting, illuminating your message.