Category Archives: Copywriting

How to Get Beyond Copywriting Confusion

confusion2Do you write text (copy) for a social sector organization? I’m talking about a nonprofit, social enterprise, or similar group that has a social mission.

If so, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind. What is the organization’s brand strategy? Who are its target markets? How can you explain the benefits it brings to the community?

It’s also your job to help the organization share information and enthusiasm about its work with interested people who may want to exchange their support (money, time, etc.) for the value the organization adds.

In the social sector, copywriting serves a dual purpose. It aims to both:

A)    Promote the organization as part of the solution to a social or environmental problem: It may work with community partners as part of a continuum of care or service, or in a coalition arrangement. If you understand how the organization fits into the mix, you can help identify its uniqueness and special contribution.


B)    Educate readers about key things they need to know: This is especially true if the organization deals with a complex, poorly understood problem that involves many processes or actors. Remember that most of your readers are not specialists in your area, and they are looking to you for explanations.

With these two goals in mind, you can move beyond common areas of copywriting confusion. A few reminders:

1. Remember to ask “so what?” about the organization’s work: Although you and your colleagues already appreciate the benefits of your work, your readers may not. Get beyond the “What do you do?” question and answer, “Why do you do it? What difference does it make for your community?”

2. Don’t focus on “we”: Socially conscious organizations need to look at things from their readers’ point of view, focusing on their personal values, needs, and interests.

3. Engage both head and heart: Your organization may tend to focus on facts or statistics, but readers will often remember most how you make them feel. So you want to share both information and emotional content, and prompt a personal experience that motivates action.

4. Cultivate conciseness: Others at your organization may believe that absolutely everything is of equal importance. It is your job to help them distill and extract the most critical elements of their message or story. We know that people today often skim more than read.

Looking for more tips, examples, and exercises? Check out Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact.



Be More Relevant by Being More Responsive

[Dalya's Note: This guest post was written by Kivi Leroux Miller and reprinted from her NonProfit Marketing Guide. She is the President of & EcoScribe Communications.]

I use the Six R’s of Relevant Messaging when I’m trying to help nonprofits create messaging that is more relevant to their participants, supporters, and influencers.

more relevant

I’ve shared some specific tips on how to make your communications feel more “Real Time“ and “Rewarding,” so today let’s look at being more “Responsive.”

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Grad Gift Pack: Get your social sector career off to a great start!

grad capDo you know a recent graduate interested in the nonprofit or social enterprise sector? (Hey, that recent graduate might even be you!)

Now that the caps have all been tossed in the air, it may be time to start focusing on the next step. If so, you’re in the right place.

Great writing is CRUCIAL to success in the social sector (nonprofits, foundations, green businesses, and the like). Improve your writing and you’ll boost the effectiveness of your fundraising, marketing, program development, or organizational management. You’ll also become an “authority” (the root of that word is “author”).

But few of us know how to share our work with the world in the most effective and efficient way. That’s where I can help.

Through August 31, I am offering a special Grad Gift Pack, which includes:

A) 20% off your paperback or e-book copy of Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact. This “portable writing coach for social change” is filled with solid advice, examples, bonus tips, and writing exercises designed to get you in the writing groove — no matter what position you get at an organization. Continue reading

Help for Your Inner Editor


Have you been working on your piece for a while, but your creative juices seem to have dried up lately? It may be a good time to do a bit of editing. It can help you clear the deck to figure out what to augment and what to diminish. Then you can fix the newfound problems and move forward. But how do you get started?

Editing will require you to separate from your initial, creative self: the part that knows what you meant to say when you crafted the early drafts of your piece. You must now pretend you are seeing the piece for the first time.

Wearing your new hat, your first job is to scrutinize the big picture—from the perspective of one of your intended readers.

If you have trouble getting that hat to fit, recall other times in your life when you have adopted another person’s point of view. If you have ever acted in a play, done character imitations for your friends, or read lines of dialogue to a child from a storybook, you have some experience pretending to be someone else.

Follow these three steps to get your inner editor going: Continue reading