Are you telling your donors something new?

If you've been working in the nonprofit world for longer than five minutes, you know that nonprofits -- even the best-funded ones -- tend to dish out a lot of boring content.

They focus on news about the internal workings of their organizations, rather than the external transformations that their donors are making possible. And they use too much jargon -- insider-speak.

In her book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Ann Handley says that your writing needs to "focus relentlessly on how you can help the people in your audience."

One easy way to help people in your audience is simply to tell them something interesting.

Tell them something they didn't already know.

Tell them something that they can repeat at a dinner party.

I took a run through some name-brand nonprofits' websites to find some helpful examples for you -- examples of how to talk to donors and tell them something that might truly interest them.

Take a quick look and be inspired!

Example 1 -- 

charity:water did a "client reunion story"

Here, charity:water followed up with a young man who their photographer has first met in Rwanda seven years ago, when he was 15 years old. Their photographer returned to the young man's village to discover what he's up to now.

charity:water's client reunion story paid a visit to a young man who the organization had first helped when he was just a little boy. This story serves as a "proof point" for donors -- providing that charity:water does legitimate, meaningful work with their donations. 

charity:water's client reunion story paid a visit to a young man who the organization had first helped when he was just a little boy. This story serves as a "proof point" for donors -- providing that charity:water does legitimate, meaningful work with their donations. 

As the reader, you get the sense from this "reunion story" that charity:water is helping real people and has follow-through and integrity as an organization. (The story would have been even stronger if it had explained whether this young man still has access to clean drinking water -- and if his family's health and well-being has been impacted by charity:water.)

Example 2 --

Harvard University reports on a study from its school of public health on how playing sports helps adults stay healthy.

As the reader, you might want to click through to read this story because it speaks to your concerns about your health (and your lack of time or ability to play a sport). It confirms something you might have thought intuitively to be true, but didn't know had been proven.

Example 3 --

EMILY's List tells us that the United States really is ready to elect a woman president.

Through their "Madam President" campaign, they distill public opinion research into quick sound bites that will be easy for you to remember.

Credit: EMILY's List -- www.emilyslist.org
Credit: EMILY's List -- www.emilyslist.org

As a member of this nonprofit's audience, you're probably not likely to read a report from a political opinion polling firm, but you can remember and share this fact with the people in your life: 86% of Americans think that the country is ready for a woman president.

And as Ann Handley says, "Your goal is to help the people you are trying to reach and create value for them, to create content so useful they'll thank you for it, to build audience and relationships."

How are you creating content that your donors value? Share in the comments! 

This will look awesome on your office door

Check out this fundraising manifesto by Ian MacQuillan, written and produced by Bluefrog.

It's being shared widely because its ideas are powerful and beautiful.

Thanks to Tom Ahern for letting me know about it, via his newsletter! (Sign up for it!)

Does your door need some new decor? Go for it! 

Download your own high-resolution copy here.