Copywriting For Charities How To

By Jamie McSloy / March 28, 2018
copywriting for charities how to featured image

Copywriting For Charities

Let’s talk about some weird thing that pops up every so often in copywriting circles.

How do you approach copywriting for charities?

Before I get into the meat of this topic, let’s get one thing straight: You use the exact same principles for copywriting for charities as you do when you do copywriting for any business.

Namely, you find the need, identify the pain points, highlight the solution, call to action and send everyone off having spent some money and feeling happy about themselves.

Now, let’s get into the meat and bones of what people seem to have issues with when it comes to copywriting for charities.

The Issues With Copywriting For Charities Are Thus…

A lot of people confuse writing good copy with being some evil salesman. If you’re reading this blog as a regular, you’ll know that isn’t the case. If you’re new to the blog, then, well, that isn’t the case.

Copywriting is the skill of converting readers into customers. You can sell them something terrible and you’ll be in trouble. You can sell them something good and they’ll be your indebted customer for life. Copywriting is the tool. You wield it as you will.

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Now… let’s talk about the real issue people have with copywriting for charities.

They think they aren’t selling, when they are.

When you’re copywriting for a charity, you’re selling someone on the idea that they’re changing the world. It might be donating to cancer research, helping starving children or saving the blue whales from assured extinction.

It doesn’t matter – your job is to sell someone on the fact that they’ll make a difference.

It’s a tricky thing to do; after all, “making a difference” is an etheric concept. It’s not like selling a car or a holiday to Venice.

Or is it?

How To Sell Good Feelings And Copywriting For A Charity

The problem people have with selling a good feeling is that it’s remote.

On Maslow’s Hierarchy, you have a pyramid of needs of the human being.

At the bottom is the stuff we really need. Food, shelter, water, the ability to breathe.

Slightly up from that, you’ll have comfort, sex, companionship, and so on. They aren’t immediate urges, but you’ll feel pretty rubbish if you don’t have them.

Giving money to charity is not on the same order as any of those things. It’s much closer to the top of the pyramid – self-actualisation, or the fulfilling of destiny and making yourself a good person.

Now, there’s nothing we can do about that.

After all, helping a turtle escape a plastic bag is never going to be important as having a comfortable bed to sleep on.

Or is it?

Here’s How To Sell A Higher-Order Need

Anyone who thinks the questions I posed above are correct has never written a survival/financial newsletter, let me tell you.

Here’s how to sell a charitable cause as effectively as you sell the need to breathe.

You take that higher-order need and pull it down, reframing it until it’s going to have a direct effect on your readers’ current way of life.

Nobody cares about the turtles per se. But did you know that the same plastic that is killing them in their thousands and millions breaks down even further. It turns into micro-plastics that get into the water supply and then end up in your blood stream or digestive tract?

It’s incredibly likely that these plastics are going to raise your risk of cancer. They might be making you infertile as we speak. After all, in the West at least the population is below replacement rate and the average guy now has a testosterone level similar to a 90 year old crippled man from a few decades ago.

The turtles and other sea life are a symbol of the catastrophe to come and if we don’t do something about it, not only are we going to contribute to the biggest mass-extinction since that meteorite wiped out the original Jurassic Park, but it’s also likely that you’re going to die slowly and painfully.

Now… all of the above is true, but it’s also an effective pitch.

Give me a few minutes to write the above into a presentation and people will be donating to a charity that aims to get rid of the plastics. They’ll be compelled to because it’s not about being a good person… it’s about the fact that they are going to die otherwise.

Sure, we save the turtles. That is a beautiful and necessary thing too. But it’s not about them, it’s about you.

Final Thoughts

People talk about copywriting as though it is some dark art of persuasion that’s obviously going to be used solely by evil salesmen for evil objectives.

Copywriting is a weapon that you use to change the world.

Copywriting for charities is a good thing if the charities are a good thing. There’s no fundamental difference between copywriting for a charity and copywriting for any other business. You find the fundamental drives of human behaviour, and you tailor an offer to the reader so that they are compelled to hand over their money.

Some will read the above article and say, “But you’re scaring people!”

I don’t consider that a bad thing if you should be scared.

If you compel someone to take a noble action, then that’s a good thing. In this article, I’ve shown you how to do it with the written word.

Let’s make the world better, folks.


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