Precision Plain English - LucidProse

Good Writing For Good Causes

About David Thomasson

After writing editorials at a five newspapers in three states (from 1979 through 1997, with one long detour through a Ph.D. program), I signed on as senior writer for development at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative and respectably rowdy think tank in Washington, D.C. I labored in the Heritage groves until mid-2004. It was a useful change from journalism that taught me a lot about writing for fundraising.

David today Early in my think tank days I also branched into speechwriting and wrote speeches for Heritage president Ed Feulner for almost seven years. But development writing was the best teacher. It's like editorial writing without the illusions. In both cases you try to bring readers around to your organization's point of view. In fundraising, you know whether you succeed: Your readers send checks — or they don't.

After two years of full-time development writing on Heritage's clock, I demoted myself to part-time status and began doing contract jobs for other nonprofits — a grant proposal here, a project description there, some ad copy over yonder. Five years later it was time to go solo. Thus was born Precision Plain English. I live in Washington on Capitol Hill. You'll find a brief resume here.

David at about age 3 My tag line, "good writing for good causes," isn't an idle slogan. If a cause doesn't seem like a good cause to me, I won't write for it. That isn't orneriness. "Belief in the cause" is the main reason people give to any cause. If you want donors to believe in your cause, you have to believe in it, and that includes hired help. Like me. If you're riled up, I need to get riled. If you're inspired by your organization's work, I need to feel inspired. I can't fake those sentiments. I don't think any writer can, not convincingly.

That mindset and my writing skills are the two most important things you need to know about me or any other writer you might consider hiring. To help you judge my writing skills, I've put a collection of samples under.... writing samples. I hope you enjoy them. If you have any questions, please drop me a line.