Productive creative writing is part of a trust fundraiser’s day to day.
Some days we feel more productive than others. All trust fundraisers at some point in their careers will seek a creativity boost to enhance their writing, their knowledge, their understanding, their enthusiasm or a mixture of all / some of these.
I had a wonderful experience working for a new client recently.
After visiting them, meeting the team and learning about who they are and what they do, I took a blank notebook to a coffee shop and drafted their case for support.
No strategy documents, annual reports, website or any other distractions. Just me, a pen, paper and a coffee.
Everything I had recalled about my visit flowed out onto the paper.
Quirky facts sat alongside humbling epiphanies, stand out moments and memories from my visit helped to shape sentences which describe why their work is so very important and worthy of support.
I got a ton of work done in only an hour, after which I had some great material. With some editing, fact checking and shifting around of the structure I had my first draft of their case for support.
So often, trust fundraising requires tools to get me started. A template application with pre-written text to help me fill in forms is an essential part of my toolkit. But there are dangers with reusing information and we must be mindful that creative writing and originality is not stifled by cutting, pasting, spell checking and counting words.
Being new to an organisation is a gift.
An external eye can deliver a creative spin which you’d not considered before. Why not have a coffee with someone who has recently joined your charity? Ask them for their first impressions on the project you’re raising money for. Try to understand their motivations for joining the organisation and what they think is most special about the work you do.
The external opinion is extremely valuable – grab it whilst you can.
There are of course also benefits to knowing a project inside out. For example, getting the information you need is likely to take much less time.
My four-step creativity booster works well for projects old or new alike and can really help creative writing for trust fundraisers (and others!).
Give it a try:
- Visit your project or service with a colleague. Chat to the people there. Ask questions. Find stories or angles which may have eluded you previously. Attend with a funder if possible and ask their perspective.
- Get out of the office, sit in a café as I did, take a pen and paper and let the words flow.
- Aim to write two sides. Describe your organisation, the problem you’re looking to solve, the solution, the cost, timescales and expected outcomes.
- Make a note of little details from your visit, remembering the minutiae where possible (you can always edit later). Include case studies or quotes from the people you spoke to.
- Give yourself a time limit. An hour is a good amount.
- Turn your phone off.
- Don’t worry about getting all the facts straight. Make things up if you need to (but ensure you fact check when you have key documents to hand).
- Remember to seek feedback from colleagues once you’ve tidied up your work.
This piece contains some very similar practical advice for trust fundraisers who are looking for creative inspiration in their writing.
Looking for more creative inspiration? Need advice on how to create proposal templates?
All of this and more is available in Trust the Process, our online trust fundraising training programme.
Find out more and sign up to hear about the next launch here.