Boost the credibility of your nonprofit’s copy with belief builders

Boost the credibility of your nonprofit’s copy with belief builders

Jul 8, 2015

Your nonprofit copywriting communicates the importance of your mission and how your organization is making a difference. It showcases your work and asks readers to take a step to support you.

But why should your readers believe you? Are you leaving them to take your word for it, or are you including copy elements that prove your credibility? Include belief builders to demonstrate that your organization can be trusted, that you are effectively providing solutions and that readers should get on board!

Here are eight belief builders to boost the credibility of your nonprofit’s copy

1. Testimonials

These are my go-to belief builders. Testimonials can be concise, powerful and easy to insert into many formats (e.g. brochures, website copy, annual reports). Testimonials can also be relatively easy to obtain. Ask for brief quotes from individuals whose lives or situations were improved by your nonprofit’s work – you might be surprised by how easy it is to get them.

2. Program results

Describe the outcomes achieved by your programs. Don’t confuse outcomes with outputs. The number of people served or locations you have simply aren’t compelling details. The specific difference you are making is.

3. Stories

Weave your promotional copy into stories that demonstrate impact. Describe your organization, program or service via a case study following a participant, volunteer or supporter/sponsor.

4. Personal pledges

Drive momentum by showcasing a pledge of support from a current donor, volunteer, ambassador, etc.

5. Endorsements

Share an endorsement from a well-known or well-regarded partner, expert or other individual connected to your organization. This need not be a full-fledged testimonial or case study, but simply a statement of support and trust in your endeavour.

6. Publicity

Did your efforts garner significant media coverage? If a reputable or well-known media outlet paid attention to your awareness-raising or advocacy work, for example, mention it!

7. Social media statistics

Is the strength of your reach and community reflected in your online communities and followers? If yes, then Facebook likes, Twitter followers and blog subscribers, for example, might be pertinent belief builders.

8. Awards and accreditations

If your nonprofit’s effectiveness has been recognized through an award, that’s a significant third-party acknowledgement worth mentioning. Or perhaps your organization has an accreditation related to the strength, transparency or accountability of your operations. In the right context, this is a powerful credibility builder.

How do you include belief builders in your nonprofit’s copy?

As I mentioned above, belief builders come in after you have described your offering and the need it addresses. Here’s an example using sponsorship sell sheets:

After getting your reader’s attention (usually with an interesting headline) you describe the external need your product, program or service addresses. Next, you position your offering as the solution to the problem. And then, you insert your belief builder, providing proof that what you offer really solves the problem – evidence to support your claims. At that point, you can carry on with the rest of your copy, including your request for sponsorship.

Where to find belief builders

You probably have an idea of the best sources and places to look for belief builders in your own organization. However, here are just a few suggestions:

  • Evaluations (programs, campaigns, events, volunteer experiences)
  • Reader surveys
  • Emails from participants or supporters
  • Feedback from volunteers or donors

Finally, here are a few tips about using belief builders:

  • Keep belief builders relevant and context-specfic. An otherwise strong belief builder dropped into the wrong copy can be meaningless.
  • Many of the belief builders listed above can be provided in a variety of formats, such as photos, graphics or videos. Be creative about how you insert belief builders into your content.
  • A little goes a long way. Don’t go off on a tangent when inserting belief builders; just use enough (in terms of number and length) to support your content.

The next time you are writing copy with a call to action, make a more compelling case by including a belief builder.

Do you already use belief builders in your copy? Do you have any to add to this list? Please share in the comments!

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