Fundraising covers a lot of territory:
- research to find potential donors,
- direct mail solicitation (high-volume prospecting),
- personal visits with major donors,
- special events that bring donors together,
- "customer service" to take care of myriad donor needs, and
- written communications (proposals, project descriptions, reports, etc.)
Development departments at large organizations can afford to hire specialists in each of these areas. Smaller organizations can't. So it often makes sense for them to hire an outside specialist for a particular job. I'm not a full-service fundraising consultant. I specialize in writing. (I don't do direct mail.)
Typically I’ll first talk with you about your needs and get information about your organization — its history, mission, current projects, staff, budget, and so on. After I look all this over we can discuss specifics.
Most of my clients want a model proposal — a fundraising letter or stand-alone document they can easily customize and send to many donors. My fee usually ranges from $1,500 to $4,500, depending on what's involved. That may sound pricey, but when your return in contributions is perhaps 50 times the cost of writing, it's cost-effective. These are flat fees and cover as many revisions as it takes to produce exactly what you want. For editing and revising text you've written, I usually charge $75 an hour.
I work for causes I regard as good causes. Concerning political philosophy, that means organizations on the conservative/libertarian side of the spectrum. Politics aside, there’s no end of worthy causes.
Nonprofits are good at asking for contributions, because that's how they survive. But they often overlook the value of communications that don't ask for money. This can be a costly mistake. Letters from the CEO that tell inspiring stories about your organization can be highly effective in building donors' confidence and loyalty. Here are some unsolicited comments from donors in response to letters I've written.
I have more than seven years’ experience writing speeches on a variety of topics. Several have been reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day. For reasons of client confidentiality, I can't post speeches on my website or identify keynote addresses I've written, but I can make copies available to individuals. Following is a partial list of speeches I've written:
- Commencement addresses at three colleges and universities.
- Tributes include William F. Buckley,
Lady Margaret Thatcher,
economists Rose and Milton Friedman,
President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea, and the late Treasury Secretary William E. Simon.
- Speaker introductions include Senator George Allen of Virginia; Attorney General John Ashcroft; Robert Bartley, editor of The Wall Street Journal; Gary Becker, Nobel laureate in economics; author William J. Bennett; Judge Robert Bork; author Midge Decter; publisher Steve Forbes; Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Robert Herbold, chief operating officer of Microsoft; Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois; Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma; former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick; former Attorney General Ed Meese; Senator Zell Miller of Georgia; author and speechwriter Peggy Noonan; Wes Pruden, editor-in-chief of The Washington Times; presidential advisor Karl Rove; Judge Kenneth Starr; syndicated columnist Cal Thomas; Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee; syndicated columnist George Will; and syndicated columnist Walter Williams.
Most of my work in this area has been with conservative/libertarian nonprofits. I design ads and also write the headlines and copy, with one exception: The final versions of full-page ads I did for DonorsTrust were produced by a design shop based on my layouts. You can view several samples here.
Workshops for fundraising writers
If your organization has at least one employee with the job title of “writer,” a workshop might be worth considering. Even experienced nonprofit writers often fall short on what I call “mining the mission” — translating their organization's abstract mission statement into inspiring stories that resonate with donors. The keyword is stories. The elements of a compelling story and the techniques for telling it are the same whether the story is fact or fiction. My coaching centers on these techniques. I'll be glad to talk with you and design a workshop that fits your needs, your staff and your budget.
Some clients I've served60 Plus Association
Allison-Fisher International (now United Business Media)
American Family Business Institute
Capital Strategy & Development
Employment Policies Institute
Foundation for Economic Education
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
The Heritage Foundation
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
Maryland Public Policy Institute
Media Research Center
National Beer Wholesalers Association
Pacific Research Institute
Kathleen Parker, syndicated columnist
State Policy Network
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
The Washington Examiner
Young American Broadcasters
And if that isn't enough ...
I also do digital image retouching. If that interests you, please visit my other website at RadiantPics.com