Category Archives: Writing

Success Stories Humanize Nonprofit Mission

Success Stories Humanize Nonprofit Mission

Everyone loves a story. And when that story is about someone overcoming adversity, it becomes even more engaging. It’s human nature to cheer for the student who earns a high school diploma in spite of a multitude of roadblocks thrown in his way. We want the person fighting a debilitating disease to come out on top.

Success stories are an important tool when you want to showcase the success of your agency. They can be used in grant proposals, on your website, in your annual report or in a fundraising letter.

  • Human interest stories create an emotional bond. People connect with people with whom they can empathize. When you share a success story that is rich in detail, the reader begins to feel connected to that person and thus to your agency.
  • Human interest stories are a powerful way to tell your agency story. There are many ways to tell constituents about your mission, programs and successes. While program descriptions and statistics are important, stories bring your agency to life.
  • Human interest stories showcase the success of your programs. It’s impressive to tell donors that 80 percent of all students who participate in your after-school program improved their grade substantially. It’s much more memorable to put a face to that story.

Here are some suggestions to make your success stories even more powerful:

  • Choose your subject carefully. Choose a person who has experienced a significant change in his or her life because of your program. For example, highlight an adult who attended your literacy program and as a result, was able to secure a better job to support her family.
  • Connect the story to your mission. Help your readers understand how the individual’s story relates to your mission. Describe the situation of the person, how your program addressed her needs and the resulting change in her life.
  • Use details. While you may need to protect the identify of your subject, the more details you provide, the more realistic and effective your story will be. Let the individual’s personality shine through in your writing. Show the struggle to make progress. Describe the emotional aspect of the story.

Nonprofit organizations are in the business of making a difference in the world. Human interest stories help your donors and volunteers understand how well you do this.

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Strong Website Builds Bottom Line

Strong Website Builds Bottom Line

Is your website out of date, under construction or lacking in focus? If you cringe at the thought of someone visiting your website, it’s time to turn your site into a strong marketing tool that will build your bottom line. Your website is an important marketing tool. It is generally the first place a prospect… Continue Reading

How to Write Effective Sales Letters

How to Write Effective Sales Letters

Have you ever received a sales letter that left you wondering, “What is the point?” Effective sales letters are laser-focused on one key message that resonates with the reader. Follow these tips to engage customers and generate more sales. Focus on one message. Before you write a sales letter, understand the purpose. Are you introducing… Continue Reading

Effective Content Cuts Through the Noise

Effective Content Cuts Through the Noise

Several years ago, I was volunteering in my son’s kindergarten class. The room was filled with the noisy energy of more than 20 five-year-olds. When the teacher wanted the children’s attention, she spoke quietly yet firmly, so quietly in fact, that the parent volunteers in the back of the room could barely hear her. The… Continue Reading

It’s or Its, Who’s or Whose

It’s or Its, Who’s or Whose

There is a wonderful quote by British playwright Shelagh Delaney making the rounds on the Internet and Twitter recently. “Nothing passes. Everything stays with you. Everything makes it’s (sic) mark.” But horrors! This wonderful quote also includes a glaring misuse of the maligned possessive and apostrophe. I rather doubt Shelagh Delaney used the word, “it’s,”… Continue Reading

How to Find Not-So-Obvious Writing Errors

How to Find Not-So-Obvious Writing Errors

American journalist, author and grammarian William Safire once said, “If you re-read your work, you can find on re-reading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by re-reading and editing.” Mr. Safire’s tongue-in-cheek comment makes the need for editing obvious. The problem for many writers, however, is finding the not-so-obvious errors. Here are some… Continue Reading

How to Develop Compelling Website Content

How to Develop Compelling Website Content

If you want to increase the time visitors spend on your website,  here are three key ways to ensure that your website content is compelling: Understand your customers. Any time you market your business or organization, your starting point should be your customers or target audience. Learn as much as you can about your customers, especially… Continue Reading

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With more than 35 years of experience in marketing communications, Joan B. Marcus Communications knows what it takes to build your brand through the power of words. We understand the big picture. We sweat the small stuff. We take writing seriously.

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