6 deadly sins of nonprofit writing

Cause communications can help an organization get highly sought resources, but only when pros avoid falling prey to these common offenses. 

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Veteran nonprofit writers know that charities win credibility with strong writing and lose credibility with poor writing.

“Great content builds authority,” writes Caryn Stein, Director of Content Strategy for the Network for Good. “Great content reinforces trust.”

And with credibility, authority, and trust come grants, donations, influence, visibility, members, and volunteers — all the makings of a successful nonprofit organization.

For those who practice the art of writing for nonprofits, I offer up these six deadly writing sins, which I know about only because I have, on occasion, committed every last one of them:

1. Enormous sentences.

I have believed that it was so important that I make my vital, pressing, urgent point in the very first sentence of my direct appeal letter that I simply explained myself into a tape recorder and produced a transcript; then, I added punctuation; but I made sure that I got everything into that first sentence, because not only are long sentences: 1) smarter, 2) balanced, and 3) better, according to Mrs. Landers-Strunk-White, my 4th grade teacher, but, second, what was I saying?

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