Narrative Fundraising


Do You Make These Five Fatal Mistakes When You Write a Fund Appeal? Whether you raise major gifts face-to-face or speak to groups . . . whether you create direct mail letters, grant proposals, or online content— each of these tasks begins with writing. Dr. Frank Dickerson's analysis of 1.5 million words of fund-raising copy found that the typical appeal . . . Reads more like an academic paper than a conversation—preferring abstract concepts over making a human connection Has fewer narrative linguistic features and rhetorical structures than an official document—high exposition/low dialogue Lacks the three types of characters needed to build a story—protagonists, antagonists, and ensemble cast members Fails to create tension with events, dialogue and imagery—doesn't make a reader scared, sad, glad or mad enough to act Neglects to offer the leading role of hero to a donor—doesn't show how their gift can bring resolution to a nonprofit's story Beyond theory to practice . . . at this workshop you'll learn how to avoid these problems by applying what you learn. You'll write, read what you write, and get feedback on . . . 10 rhetorical superstructures of the connecting narrative moment—the heart and soul of a fund appeal 23 linguistic features of personal emotional connection—words that make an appeal read like a coversation sounds 6 linguistic features of obfuscation to avoid—words and structures that create dense, tangled, detached prose 6 linguistic substructures of narrative—the story materials used to build the connecting narrative moment 5 visual language factors that add to text what a smile adds to speech—how paralanguage lifted response 346%

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Contact Name Frank Dickerson, President -


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Issue 15