2. Picture your reader How old are they? Are they male/female? What do they look like? What do they do all day? How do they feel today? Do they have kids? What did they have for lunch? What will they do at the weekend?
Put yourself in their shoes... The Silver Dreams Fund (Big Lottery) Stage 1 - 1,400 applications 1,000 words each 1,400,000 words 30 projects to be funded 587,287 words Or 42% of Silver Dreams
3. Develop your key messages Capidale Case for Support In a nutshell – 50 words In a paragraph – 100 words In a page
4. Think tabloid not broadsheet Keep it simple – really, really simple Peter Wanless: what makes an application stand out Evidence “In clear and simple terms” A wow factor “Simplicity” “Avoid over claiming, jargon and activities couched in generalities and platitudes” Peter Wanless, ex-CEO, BIG Lottery
Examples of simple language... Latin Approximately Demonstrate Establish Terminate Commence Advise Utilise Saxon equivalent About Show Set up End Start Tell Use Most of these examples are from George Smith’s excellent book: Tiny essentials of writing for fundraising
6. Never, ever use jargon Or technical language... or acronyms... What on earth is...? Social justice Person-centred Accompanied signposting Co-production TLAP Big Society Personalisation
7. Use definite, active language Hesitative language We will seek to... We hope to repeat past successes... We anticipate that... Passive language Women who have experienced trauma will receive counselling... Target beneficiaries were consulted demonstrating... Definite language We will... Our past results prove that... Our projections show... Active language We will provide counselling to traumatised women... Young people tell us...
8. Help them picture the people, the problem and the solution “I really enjoy being off the streets in the warm, socialising with people. I have learnt how to connect with people. I drink less... and am kept busy. I don’t get into trouble with the police as much any more!” Tracey (14) Charlie’s adrenaline and legs were pumping, and by the time he finished he’d cycled 5 miles. People were inspired by his efforts and the donations rolled in. To date he has raised £210,928. 7 year old Charlie was really upset by television coverage of the Haiti disaster. With his Mum, he decided to raise £500 for Unicef by cycling 10 laps around his local park
9. Grammar is unimportant Meaning is everything... It is perfectly OK to start a sentence with and. But don’t do it too often. Because it will start to get annoying. Split infinitives are fine. “To boldly go where no man has gone before...” Of course you can end sentences with a preposition. What are those little words for? “Grammar matters less than style, content matters more than syntax...” This too comes from George Smith’s excellent book: Tiny essentials of writing for fundraising George Orwell
10. Slavishly follow their guidelines Discretely reflect their language Older people have a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience that can benefit others. We are particularly interested in helping vulnerable older people cope better with life changing events. We are also seeking to challenge preconceptions and myths about ageing. Silver Dreams said... We said...
11. Get someone external to read it It makes sense to you...... but does it excite and enthuse someone who knows nothing about you? Ask your partner, friend, relative to read it as critically as if they were being asked to part with the money Don’t sulk if they tell you something you don’t want to hear
12. Break any of the rules that don’t work for you.