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Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits Paperback – July 19, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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  • Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Writing for nonprofits is a juggling act. One's job might entail writing grant proposals, newsletters, thank-you notes, case statements, and Web-site material--each for a different boss. The most successful development writers take the time to both experience their causes firsthand (sleep in the shelter, go to rehearsals, visit the wilderness) and cultivate personal relationships with their donors ("people give to people"). You'll give yourself an amazing head start when applying for a grant, say Joseph Barbato and Danielle Furlich, just by following an organization's guidelines and getting your math right--it's surprising how many fundraisers do neither. Make your point once, clearly, and don't forget the human element. "You aren't just asking for money," say the authors of Writing for a Good Cause, "you are asking to help people." Barbato and Furlich, both veteran fundraisers, interviewed both grants administrators and development writers for this guide. The result is an inside view of the arcane workings of the world of fundraising that would make any novice feel more proficient immediately. Their "gotta-get-it-out-right-now, how-late-is-FedEx-open? Down-and-dirty proposal kit" is a terrific tool when there isn't time to write the "knockout, beguiling, exciting, can't-put-it-down, and surely can't-turn-it-down fundraising proposal." And keep in mind: when a donor gives your proposal the nod, say thank you. Twice. In fact, say Barbato and Furlich, "It is almost impossible to thank a donor too much." --Jane Steinberg

From Booklist

Surprise! It may be a manual, and it may be aimed at those who write to elicit money, but it is also wise, funny, and useful for anyone who writes anything. In an informal but never sloppy style, the authors define fundraising ("Once, it was called begging") and offer a quick view of the nonprofit universe. They carry the reader through proposal writing, case statements, newsletters, and all of their myriad parts, from executive summaries and cover letters to budgets and appendixes, enlivening an already lively text with model sidebars. Pages are liberally peppered with boxes called "Hot Tip" and "Writer Beware!" The advice on organizing material, interviewing people, and sitting down to write would serve any writer. They even provide a special section, "the down-and-dirty proposal kit," for those times when you have two days in which to cram two weeks of work. Underlying it all is the energy that comes from working for a good cause and using your words to make the world better. GraceAnne A. DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original ed. edition (January 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684857405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684857404
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Not surprisingly, this book provides advice that -- if applied literally -- will assist you in writing excellent proposals to fund your non-profit organization's ventures.
Surprisingly, the advice contained herein -- if made more generic in your mind -- is excellent advice for entire areas of your life. Sounds hokey, true. But honestly, boiled down the advice can be listed as:
1. Identify what the problem is. Do your research until you really understand the causes of the problems and their many effects.
2. Identify how you will know when you have made the problem better. How will you know when the problem has been alleviated? What intermediate steps need to be taken? How will you measure your progress along the way?
3.Identify what tools are available, and which are still needed, to move towards a resolution, or diminution, of the problem. Be specific here. Vague generalities are useless, but the brass tacks of a solution are absolutely priceless. Who has access to these tools? Who can make difficult things easy?
4. If you are asking for someone to help you with this problem, present the whole equation to them in a light that makes the most sense to *them*. This doesn't mean to lie, or exaggerate. It only means to focus your proposal in a way that makes them see it most personally.
5. Proofread what you have written, to be sure it says what you want it to say. Then proofread it again. And again. Get it right, because it is a hard and fast representative of you. This should be true in everything concrete you put out in the world with your name on it.
Now, all of this can be applied to writing a grant proposal. And much of it can be applied to the other things in life.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I almost didn't purchase this book because I already have several books on grantwriting. However, I have the feeling that this book will be "dog-eared" in no time while the others will simply gather dust. For the beginning grantwriter, you will find tons of great practical advice. For us seasoned veterans, you will discover much which you may have forgotten...a great "refresher course." I especially like the section that discusses "moonlighting" and how to make some extra money on the side. I've never seen that topic discussed before in a typical grantwriting book. This is a fun and entertaining read, and is a welcome addition to my professional library.
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By A Customer on July 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I am on deadline and desperately in need of help, "Writing for a Good Cause" is where I turn first for guidance, solace, or inspiration (seeing as how our office manager objects to open containers of alcohol at one's desk). Not only is this book full of incredibly practical writing tips in handy list form, it is also very funny and a page turner.
The heart of the book is a clear guide to how to write a great proposal, but other valuable topics are covered, including newsletters, case statements, interviews, and the like.
In one section, the authors mix genuine examples of great fundraising writing with an imaginary proposal to fund the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. They not only convince you to help build the Brooklyn Bridge, you're ready to buy it.
The bridge is not for sale, but this book is. It is well worth its price of two fast food lunches. Buy it, read it, and be happy.
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Format: Paperback
The authors make a point: Everyone can write, but not everyone writes well. These authors do. They use just the right amount of humor, share many interesting tips, advise in everyday words, and stimulate budding fund raisers. This is an excellent book for directors of non-profit organizations and for consultants looking to help them develop winning proposals.
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Format: Paperback
"Writing For a Good Cause" is a must-have reference for anyone involved in writing grant proposals or other fundraising material. One of the things that impressed me is that the authors have hands-on experience in actually doing what they write about. Packed with examples pulled from their own experiences and offering practical advice, the authors do a great job of introducing beginners to the complicated and often stressful world of fundraising for non-profits. Another major plus, is that the authors do a great job of seasoning an otherwise dry subject with plenty of wit and humor to keep the pages turning and your interest fresh.
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By A Customer on August 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Trying to persuade people to part with large sums of money for a project, concept or concern? I can't imagine why you would try to do so without this book. The authors have captured the subject area, tied it up with a bow and presented it to the readers with a humorous flair. Entertaining, yet informative. Light-hearted, yet comprehensive.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took this book, along with many others on fundraising, out of my local library. Though I'm new to raising funds, I've made much of my living writing articles and books; I wasn't sure it would have much to teach me.
This book was so startlingly useful that I had to buy it. It will likely become your most dog-eared fundraising guide.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent book with very practical tips on writing to get funded. There are many grantwriting books and resources available, but this is one of the better that I've found for writing persuasively for major gifts. Great practical advice on formulating winning proposals, concept papers and other grant writing tools. Definitely recommend to grantseekers of all levels.
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