Years ago I worked with a woman who came out of the journalism world – we’ll call her “Jane” (Why? Because honestly, I can’t remember her name!) Jane came highly recommended as a fine writer and everyone thought that her level of work would build the readability of the school’s magazine and other publications. The problem was that Jane was miserable almost from the start. She had conflicts with all sorts of people – from the alumni, fundraising and admissions staff and even some of the faculty. Why? She seemed nice enough, but to her, every article was “hard hitting news.” What’s more, she expected unfettered editorial control over the magazine. She treated fundraising pieces like “news” not promotion.
Jane didn’t realize that the kind of writer she was differed from the kind of writing that the school needed. She didn’t know how her approach to writing impacted her approach to her job – and her ability to get work done.
I don’t mean to pick on journalists. Writers of all stripes can have this problem. For many people, writing is VERY personal. Suggesting any changes are like telling them their child has a major disease. They want to write from their angle.
That’s not what you need. I’m not suggesting that a good writer doesn’t give his or her opinions or speak from experience. But when you need to promote your cause, you don’t need an expose’ on the deficiencies of your competitors, you need to show how you’re fulfilling your mission.
Of course, I’m biased. I’m a professional copywriter with 25 years of fundraising experience who focuses on nonprofit organizations. I write to promote your cause and how you fulfill your mission. But in the end, you control what I write – and within some general standards (like no misrepresentations, for example), you get what you want – not what I want.