Freely You Have Received, Freely Give

It’s National Philanthropy Day and kudos to all who give their time, talents and treasures to make our world a better place!

I’m currently working on a fund appeal newsletter for my church. In the religious community we refer to philanthropy as stewardship, and our goal is to give just as God has given to us. We want to give out of love not only for everything he has created, but also out of love for God himself.

Philanthropy, stewardship or just plain ol’ giving…whatever you want to call it, it’s a good thing to do. So thanks to all you movers and shakers, you who donate and you who care!

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications, whether it be design or copywriting. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2014, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!

And while we’re talking giving, here’s the cover and inside page of my church’s newsletter. There will be more to follow, but take a look so far.

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Wednesday Webs 4-18-12

old typewriters

How many of you grew up writing on typewriters? I did. So when I recently saw these on display, I didn’t know what was more alarming—that they were in an antique shop or that they were surely priced higher than they originally cost.

Ah, typewriters. Weren’t those the days? (Not really. The delete key is much easier than white out tape.)

But as long as we’re on the subject of writing, here are a few sites:

  • Writing persuasive copy is an art: Here are 58 easy-reading elements.
  • “Your” vs “you’re” has become epidemic. We need to address this.
  • Should writing term papers be replaced with writing blogs?
  • Churches can learn a little something about writing too.
  • Visuwords: So much more fun than a thesaurus.

 

A New Book I Want to Read

Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication

Alot of my work is for churches and other religious organizations.

With that in mind, I’d like to read the newly released Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication. It’s by Tim Schraeder, and it’s put out by the Center for Church Communication, the same people who do the blog Church Marketing Sucks.

I don’t know much about the book, but at a mere $10.07 from Amazon, I figure it’s worth checking out. (It’s also available to order at Tribeca, in Watertown, WI).

Cost aside, the real reason I’m buying Outspoken is because its promoters have sparked my interest. They’ve creatively marketed their product and let me, their audience, know they’re sharing the collective wisdom of 60 church communication experts. Not only that, they’ve also provided free banners so I can promote their product as well. How smart is that!

So, if this book has done such a good job communicating its message, I’m guessing it will have helpful ideas for churches to communicate theirs—the greatest message of all, that of God’s love.

 

Creating Newsletters People Actually Read

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I recently presented a workshop “Creating Newsletters People Actually Read” at the Church & Change Conference in Milwaukee. The presentation went well, the turnout was great and the discussions were informative.

How good to know churches are interested in putting out good newsletters!

Three Ways to Combat the 30-3-30 Rule

Recently I presented the workshop “Creating Newsletters People Actually Read” at the Church & Change Conference in Milwaukee. Apparently, this topic interests many because the turnout was great and we had interesting discussions.

One point I made is the “30-3-30 Rule.” This theory says there are three kinds of readers: 30-second readers, 3-minute readers and 30-minute readers. Unfortunately, 30-second readers make up 80 percent of the average newsletter audience.

Certainly this percentage necessitates greater efforts in good design and concise writing. But inventive editors have come up with other ideas, as well. I researched and found a few.

Write Creative Headlines
Advertising authority David Oglivy knew the importance of a good headline.
In his book Confessions of an Advertising Man, he offers four proven headline types; the How To, the Question, the Top 10 Reasons, and the Testimonial.

Challenge Readers
When I was a kid, I would scour issues of Highlights Magazine, searching for the hidden images. Some newsletters create the same challenge by “hiding” a member’s name (or other identifying information) in the text of the newsletter. The first member to spot it and call the office, wins a prize. What a fun way to hook young and old readers alike.

Feature New Members
People are naturally interested in other people. Particularly new people. Introduce new members in your newsletter, together with a nice snapshot. It immediately gets newcomers involved in the newsletter and also is a great way for members to get to know them.

Pass Along Ideas
What’s proven successful for your church newsletter?
Please share!