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Review of: Secrets of Writing for the Fundraising Market


Review by: Nick Usborne


writing for the fundraising marketIf you are thinking about working as a direct mail fundraising freelance copywriter - or simply want to upgrade your current skills in this area, keep reading.


I can't imagine finding any other resource that would even come close in terms of the sheer volume of dense, quality content. This is a course from the American Writers and Artists Institute, and it's remarkable.

Am I in a position to judge whether it is remarkable or not? Well, a few years ago I did quite a bit of fundraising copywriting...and I know what it's like to get up the learning curve WITHOUT this kind of resource. It wasn't easy.

Yes, I had a good few years of direct mail copywriting experience behind me. But writing to raise money for worthy causes is not the same as trying to sell products and services.


Fortunately, my client also became my mentor and taught me a great deal about how to write effective fundraising mailings. After a while I was managing to beat a few controls and felt that I really had something to offer.


Was it worth it?


If you are wondering if there is much of a market in fundraising, let me share with you a couple of points that really surprised me at the time, and still hold true today.

1. There is a huge demand for good direct mail fundraising copywriters, and many non-profits regularly use outside freelancers.


2. Contrary to what I first anticipated, you DON'T charge less for writing a fundraising mailing. In fact, often my fees for this kind of work were higher than what I was charging for non-charity clients.

You can get there faster than I did


To get to the point where I was writing really effective packages, I spent dozens of hours with my client and read every book on the subject I could find.


But all of that combined didn't even come close to the volume of information you will find in this course.


You'll find a full description of the course contents on the AWAI sales and information page (linked at the end of this review). But here's a quick overview...


Here's what you get

- A fat binder with over 400 pages of information on how to write great fundraising packages, how to market your services, where to find clients (including over 650 names, addresses and phone numbers), and how use the Internet as a fundraising tool.


- 10 CDs. Eight of them are interviews with top fundraising copywriters. Two are devoted to sharing 10 winning direct mail controls, with analysis by Denny Hatch.

My impressions


I made some notes as I went through the course. Each time something really struck me, I wrote it down.


Here's some of what I wrote:

* This course is incredibly dense. No fluff. Just solid, useful information.


* I really like the numerous interviews with writers, the case histories and guest essays. (This course isn't by one 'expert'. It draws on the experience and success of numerous fundraising copywriters.)


* Good detail on writing all the elements of a successful package - from the envelope to the header, lead paragraph, PS and more.


* Great interview with someone who HIRES freelancers.


* Terrific before and after example. Good way to show strengths and weaknesses.


* Good glossary. Essential for people new to fundraising who need to show prospective clients that they really know what they're talking about.

Concluding thoughts


This is a wonderful course. Freelance writers can make a very good living in the fundraising market. There is a huge opportunity there, and this course truly gives you everything you need to get started, find clients and write successful packages.


There is more here than in all the books I purchased. And I particularly like how so much of the course comprises the advice and experiences of today's top direct mail fundraising copywriters.


Highly recommended.


Find out more about 'Secrets of Writing for the Fundraising Market'



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