He offers a great real-life example of typical copy from a fundraising letter he received.
Winter disasters and other emergencies are on the way. And your gift to [name of charity deleted] is critically important. Please send your gift of $35, $25, $50 or more right way. Use the enclosed envelope, or simply call [phone number deleted].
He then points out:
No mentally healthy person would speak those sentences.
Scary isn't it? If people give to people, why do we make our fundraising letters so boring? As Jeff points out, noone's forcing us to write that way!
One really easy way to "be human" is to keep in touch with the people you're serving.
I just did a coaching call with a really bright executive director having trouble raising money. In the course of our call, we uncovered his need to get passionate about his cause, not just its features. He could talk about all the sponorship levels and all the costs for the very programs. But he'd lost touch with the people the organization served. To help overcome this, we set a goal of getting in front of at least one person impacted by his organization every week.
Why not set that as a goal for yourself for the rest of 2008?