Salsa Labs reports:
"A formalized major gift proposal, whether mailed in a letter or delivered in presentation format, has to hit certain beats. These written major [gift] proposals are the conclusion of all of your cultivation efforts. They are informed by everything you have learned about the prospect in preceding meetings. If you’ve researched major gift asks, you have likely seen that speaking with the prospect in person increases your chances of securing the donation...However, there are some situations when a formal proposal letter is the best option. If you have a small team with limited resources and little time to spend, you probably can’t book all of their days up with introductory meetings, exploratory meetings, and solicitation meetings. Instead, follow proper cultivation and you can have your team craft a major gift proposal letter...Even if you end up making a formal presentation rather than sending a letter, it is still beneficial to be familiar with the writing strategies. During a presentation, the written proposal can help guide your ask as you walk through it with the prospect, and it can be a good take-home document for the prospect turned donor...Asking for a major gift is a delicate task. Even to your wealthier donors, the size of a major gift is significant and warrants careful consideration and thought. Because of that, your prospects need very specific, customized solicitations to get them over the finish line. Nothing will turn away your prospects sooner than an impersonal approach. That starts with the letter’s salutation and builds through the various language within the proposal...Open with a direct address, to not only the donor’s name, but [also] the donor’s preferred name. Is this the kind of donor who prefers to be formally addressed as Mrs. or Mr. So and So, or is this the kind of donor that immediately asked to be called by their first name? What about a Richard who goes by Rich? You’ll learn all of that, track it in your CRM, and put it to good use when it comes time to write up the proposal. Carry that attention to detail throughout the entire proposal. The rest of these tips are going to highlight exactly how you can do that...You want to open by thanking the donor for any previous gifts and/or involvement with your organization. Many times, major gift prospects have been flagged as strong candidates from their spots in your donor pool. Donor loyalty is a major giving indicator and frequent past donations are markers of donor loyalty. With that in mind, there’s a good chance that your major gift prospect will have already contributed to your organization in some regard prior to ever starting the major gift solicitation process. Acknowledge the prospect’s past actions and compliment them on the good work they’ve done. Prospects will be much more receptive to an ask if it follows a genuine acknowledgment of their prior philanthropy with your organization. Why would they make bigger contributions if you don’t even appreciate their previous gifts? If a prospect has never contributed to your cause before, you can still be complimentary of their giving behavior. You aren’t pulling these major gift prospects out of thin air. Inherently, a qualified major gift prospect has a philanthropic history, even if it isn’t with your organization. When a prospect hasn’t donated to your organization before, acknowledge their charitable history...Once you know a prospect’s interests and charitable propensity, that should guide the case for your cause. You want to pair your proposal with the philanthropic impulses of the prospect. If your organization works for an environmental cause and you learn that the donor is interested in working with youth, make sure you speak to the sustainability presentations that your team gives at local schools. This part of the proposal is essentially your chance to demonstrate how your mission and your prospect’s interests align...You can’t look at a prospect and proclaim, 'You must give X amount to the general fund,' or 'Donate Y amount to this brand new program we’re launching next spring.' Donors do not want to be and should not be told what to do with their hard-earned money. You can guide them with how you present the options, but you need to give prospects a selection to choose from. In this step, you’ll summarize the various programs and efforts that are in need of assistance...Now is the time to lead the prospect to the program that would be the most beneficial for both them and your organization. It’s also the time to make the direct ask. Your ask should:
Carolyn Williams reports:
"Whether done on an anniversary, all at once for the entire firm or every few weeks, writing an evaluation for a fellow employee can be touchy. Knowing how to use the evaluation to both support your colleague's strengths and identify weaknesses with diplomacy ensures a successful process...When providing your input on a fellow employee's performance, you must understand the scale used and how it affects the overall review. Some companies rate employees into quadrants based on their salary and performance level. Other companies use an objective rating system; still others set up a series of statements about an employee that you agree or disagree with at various levels. Once you have the form for the review or have received pertinent training, be consistent with your ratings and feedback...In a 360-degree performance review program, your input to your colleague may be important to his overall development at the firm. In this type of review, not all employees review all other employees in the group. Instead, those who regularly interact with the employee are selected to provide feedback. The employee then uses this feedback to identify career development goals such as specific training or skill mastery that benefit his performance...The process of providing feedback and packaging the feedback into clear and focused coaching for an employee is a useful development tool. However, performance evaluations to determine raises or promotions using the 360-degree method don't work...Competition clouds peer evaluation -- if you see the performance evaluation as a means for your colleague to move ahead, for example, you're more likely to downgrade the employee. In this case, the process itself is flawed. If you are faced with this approach, discuss the outcome with your manager and evaluate whether you are unbiased enough to provide useful feedback...If your firm is implementing [crowdsourced] employee reviews, then you may be on tap to review dozens of colleagues many times a year. The theory is that as organizations become flatter, sourcing information from more than just one reviewer -- traditionally, the manager -- provides more specific and detailed feedback. However, make sure you know what your colleague's responsibilities are so you can rate her fairly. These types of performance evaluations have the potential to focus on the extremes of both positive and negative, rather than providing substantive feedback that helps employees grow."
Danny Rubin reports:
"When writing a LinkedIn summary, keep it basic. In a nutshell, what are you known for? What’s your identity? And how does your work help other people? It’s a useful exercise to describe yourself in less than ten seconds. Plus, it’s important to think hard about the value you add to the market. Here’s an example for a young guy we’ll call 'Lamar.' 'Every day, I protect sensitive information on thousands of people from hackers and cyberattacks.' At Lamar’s professional core, that’s the work he does AND how his work improves the lives of other people...This is no time to delve into three huge paragraphs on everything you’ve done. Keep it rolling with specific details, like:
Angelique O'Rourke reports:
"A company overview (also known as company information or a company summary) is an essential part of a business plan. Your company overview should be exactly what it sounds like: an overview containing all of the most important points about your company. It usually appears after the executive summary. This is typically the shortest chapter of a business plan document, but that doesn’t reduce its importance. If you’re presenting this plan to people outside of your company, this is your opportunity to introduce yourself and your business, and you are going to want to put your best foot forward...Imagine that the person reading your business plan document has never heard of you, and doesn’t know anything about your business. What should be their [takeaway]? What do they need to remember about you and your company? When composing this section of your business plan, focus on the highlights: who you are as the founder and owner, other prominent team members, your product or service, and why it is unique. Think of this chapter as the 'who, what, when, where, and why' of your business...Developing a business plan that suits your purposes means tailoring a subject to your audience. Sometimes that can mean eliminating a section that isn’t applicable to your current project. If you’re writing this chapter for an internal business plan, you could approach writing a company overview as a status update on the company. How did you get to where you are today? Who is currently in charge? Depending on who is viewing and working with the business plan in the company, this chapter may not be necessary. However, an employee who is new to the company or project may appreciate some background information and context. If this plan is for outside use or investment, consider the perspective of your audience...Present your company like it is well[-]poised to accept their financial backing and hit the ground running...[The company overview] is the meet[-]and[-]greet section of your business plan. If you were to eloquently write down your elevator pitch, you could put it in this section. Keep this brief, as you’re going to be expanding on what you say here in the next few sections...The company history section will start out with when your business was founded and who was involved, and will go into a little of the backstory. This section is going to vary depending on who this business plan is being presented to and what stage your company is in. Is this an internal plan? Historical data may not be essential. Is this a plan to seek funding? In that case, investors will want to know your backstory, and this section will allow you to provide some context for your business plan. Include how the company started, how it grew[,] and changes made along the way. What led you to this point? If you are an existing business seeking funding for expansion or a new project, the company history section is going to be pretty significant. You’ll want to make it clear that you have a strong track record...Who did you decide to partner with? Have you launched new products over time? Made improvements on facilities or services? Streamlined operations? If this is a business plan for a start[-]up, you won’t have a company history per se, but you could use the company history section to give a concise description of how the founder or founders decided to start this venture. What was the 'light bulb' moment? Who was involved?...The management team section of your business plan is your opportunity to paint a picture of your team and showcase their finest attributes. Again, for internal use this may not be applicable, though you could use it to highlight new employees being brought in or existing employees that are taking on some new leadership responsibilities. If you’re a [start-up] or looking to expand, there may be team members you know you’re lacking. In that case, make mention of what those roles are, and what your plans are to fill those holes. Include which people might currently be taking on multiple responsibilities or sharing duties. If you plan to present your plan to a bank or other potential investors, this is critical data. Who are the leaders in your company? What qualifies them for their positions and inspires confidence? Be sure to include details about yourself, usually at the beginning. Work experience, past successes, MBAs, and other degrees can be referenced for each person. You want to showcase everyone in their best light...Related to the management team, you may want to include a separate section outlining the legal structure and ownership of your organization. The legal structure of your business is important data for any funding source to have...This will also affect how you file your taxes. The ownership structure of your business is going to be important data to include. Who owns what percentage of your business? Banks and investors will want this information to be clearly spelled out...Are you going to be purchasing a building for manufacturing? A storefront? Do you already have a great space? Explain the circumstances of your use of any space mentioned in [the locations and facilities] section. Include whether you own or lease, and what the pertinent terms of that lease are if you have one. Make it clear what the long-term plan is for any space that you have, or what your needs will be for a future facility. If you have a home office, include that here as well...Be as succinct as possible when crafting your mission statement. What idea can you distill into one or two sentences that conveys the primary mission of your company? This might be something you want to create with your management team if you have one, so it conveys a shared long-term vision."
Ali Luke reports:
"Have you ever read a book that was way too wordy?...The content itself might have been good – but the substance ended up buried beneath a froth of unnecessary words. Perhaps you found it hard to stay focused, or you simply stopped reading. When you write – especially if you’re writing online – it’s important to avoid waffle. At best, a vague and waffly piece won’t have a strong impact on the reader. At worst, you’ll not only lose readers, [but] they’ll [also] mentally note you down as a writer to avoid. So, how do you go about cutting the waffle from your writing?...Whatever you’ve written...you need to figure out what belongs and what doesn’t. Hopefully, some of this happened at the planning stage, but your ideas may have shifted while you wrote. Have you included a chapter in your ebook that should really be a separate blog post? Does your novel have a scene which just doesn’t fit? Would your blog post be more powerful if you took out that long explanation in the middle and made it into a separate piece? This isn’t about how good your writing is. You might have crafted a beautiful scene for your novel … but you may realise [sic], when rewriting, that it simply isn’t going anywhere...Look for paragraphs that don’t belong – especially anything that’s repetitive. If you’ve said the same thing twice, do you want that repetition for emphasis, or can you just cut it? You’ll want to check for any waffly paragraphs...Again, this isn’t about the quality of your writing. You might have opened your short story with five paragraphs of detailed description … but however wonderful the words, you may well decide that you need to cut straight to the action...This is the stage that writers tend to think of first: cutting the flab from every sentence...Watch for phrases like:
Corwin Olson reports:
"Have an assortment of pens or pencils with different sizes and grips, and try a different utensil when using one starts to hurt...Expensive pens/pencils are not necessarily better: [A] lot of times the cheapest mechanical pencils or BIC pens feel the [best/hurt] the least...Lightweight pencils can be more tiresome at first than larger/heavier pencils, but they tend to be less tiring with extended use...For pencils, go mechanical – the lead is much thinner and doesn’t become dull like traditional pencils (unless you’re an artist and you want that effect)...Get a good eraser for pencils – these make a huge difference if you’re erasing a lot. I recommend one of the white Hi-Polymer erasers that easily erase most anything...Pens can be pain for taking technical notes, but the decreased resistance can be worth it. I found that I preferred pens for taking class notes after a while, as I didn’t have time to erase anyways...If possible[,] write on a single sheet of paper on a hard surface, instead of on top of a pad of paper or other soft surface. This lowers the resistance, and results in much cleaner lines in my opinion. This can be difficult if you’re using a spiral bound notebook, which is why I also recommend writing on loose leaf and collecting all your papers in binders (which also makes later scanning [of] all your written documents much easier...and easier to [reorganize])...If you’re at the point where [any]...pen/pencil you use hurts, and you just need to write something repeatedly to study, try using a chalkboard or whiteboard instead...This is 'bad form,' but you may need it, especially if you’re in a class: [I]f you write with the pen between your index and middle fingers, where most of the work is done by your index finger, try shifting the pen down one finger to a position where the middle finger does most of the work...Lastly, the most obvious solution: [T]ake a break...Often this doesn’t seem possible, but I’ve found that it’s usually more feasible than it seems initially. Perhaps do some reading without writing for a little while. You might actually find that you didn’t need to write as much as you initially thought."
George Lawrence reports:
"Written contracts are an effective way to bind a professional relationship together. Properly drafted, the contract should leave no room for doubt as to the exact obligations and responsibilities of each party. With regard to cleaning contracts, typically, the major issues involve how the owner intends to pay the cleaner and the specific cleaning duties the cleaners must complete to receive payment...Describe the basic information about the contract. Include a title, such as 'Cleaning Contract,' the names of each party, the date of the agreement and the duration of the agreement...Write language such as 'For the consideration stated herein, the parties agree as follows:' and go on to discuss the nature of the agreement. Clearly define what each party is obligated to do. Include matters such as payment terms...and the types of cleaning services required. Indicate which party is responsible for providing cleaning materials and equipment...Describe the areas that need to be cleaned and define what the cleaning company must do. Be specific...Explain the process to resolve disputes and how a party may terminate the contract...Visit your local law library and review contract formbooks and samples to help you draft your own contract. Draft the contract in clear and concise terms; define any technical terms as necessary. Additionally, consider organizing the contract by major sections with individual subsections to make it easier to read...Be sure that both parties agree to everything in the contract. A contract is a legally binding document that could expose a party to legal liability. If you are unsure about its wording, [or] whether the contract is comprehensive, or if you have any questions regarding the contract at all, consider speaking to an attorney for independent legal advice."
Kristin Bennecker reports:
"Independent study paper writing is a skill that takes time to develop, but with practice and organization, students can learn how to write a paper and communicate their topic clearly...Familiarize yourself with the requirements for your paper. If necessary, communicate with your independent study teacher for further clarification...Create a schedule to avoid getting off track or turning your paper in late. On a calendar, mark the number of days you think you need to complete your paper and how much time you will allot each day to work on it. Leave enough open days that hours can be added later if you need more time to write than you thought. Be sure to designate at least two hours for proofreading and editing at the end...Identify your ideal writing environment, and arrange your schedule so that you have time to write. Make sure your work environment has plenty of light and space for you to spread out your books and writing materials as you work...Identify the topic of your paper. If you are allowed to choose the paper topic, make sure it is an interesting subject that will capture the reader's attention. Try not to select a topic that is too general for you to cover in a single paper. If you are not confident in your topic choice, consult with your independent study teacher before you start writing...Locate sources that contain information you do not know about the topic. Double[-]check your requirements for the paper to see how many sources (if any) are required. Often independent study students will receive a book recommendations list. Read the list to see whether any sources are applicable to your paper topic...Set aside one index card per source, and write the bibliographic information for each source on a separate card...Read your sources, and write pertinent notes on the index card that corresponds with the source...Reevaluate your calendar schedule. If you are still on track, keep writing! If you need more time than you thought, add more hours to ensure that you have enough time to complete your paper before the due date...Create an outline for your paper. Incorporate the index cards into the outline where appropriate...Write an introduction to your paper. Include a brief overview of your topic along with your thesis statement or main argument. Although you will cite most of your sources in the body of the paper, you may need to cite one or two sources in the introduction if your introduction includes material taken from outside sources...Evaluate your schedule again. If you find yourself overwhelmed by writing, designate times during your independent study hours to take short breaks. Sometimes you need to allow your mind to rest in order to maintain your sense of motivation...Write the body of your paper according to your outline. Make sure you use the body of your paper to support your argument or to address the specific points of your topic...Cite your sources where appropriate in the introduction. Review your independent study paper requirements to see what kind of citation style is required for the format of your in-text citations and final bibliography...Write the conclusion of your paper by recapping your main points and finalizing your argument...Compile your bibliography or works cited page by using your index cards. Make sure you format the sources according to the citation style required for the independent study paper...Write a title for your paper that captures your topic and makes the reader want to know more about it. Consult your independent study paper requirements to see whether they include specifications for formatting the title page...Proofread the paper by reading your computer document or printing it out and making handwritten changes with a colored pen. Do not skip this step. Your independent study teacher will expect the work you submit to be polished and easy to read...Reread the requirements for the independent study paper before submission to make sure you have completed everything accordingly...Write notes on your calendar about your writing experience in relation to time and organization."
David Coodin reports:
"Unlike a conventional academic essay, a personal narrative is about your own experiences or feelings. Still, a personal narrative contains a 'thesis,' which really just means the main point you are trying to communicate. Because a personal narrative is more artistic than a regular essay, you don't need a one-sentence thesis that neatly summarizes your argument. Instead, you can get creative and write a thesis that is more suggestive or ambiguous...You can begin a personal narrative by simply stating the main point of your piece...Beginning your thesis with the main point clues your reader immediately into what you will be talking about. Be clear, and expand on your main point in the sentences that follow...Sometimes the best personal narrative thesis begins in the middle of a thought. This places the reader right in the middle of the action and can be a more gripping way to begin a thesis...Instead of telling your reader the lesson you will try to impart, you are setting up an anecdote by showing its effect in the present...Personal narratives are stories, so it's entirely acceptable to begin your thesis by launching right into the story from the beginning. One way to do this is to adopt the present tense while narrating the past and setting the scene. By illustrating the past as if it is happening now, you make your reader feel the immediacy of the event...Although your personal narrative is a story about yourself, your thesis can begin with a short anecdote that pertains to your own story. This way, you clue your reader into the theme before you even get to your own narrative. For a personal narrative about drug abuse, for instance, your thesis could be about someone you knew who struggled with a similar problem for years. In showing how he dealt [with] the issue, you can compare or contrast it to your own narrative."
Mindy Hardwick reports:
"Narrative flash is a very short nonfiction story, usually about one tiny moment of a big event. For example, the moment the author heard the doctor say, 'Your dad is dying.' Even though it’s short, narrative flash has a beginning, middle, and end. It contains the elements of good storytelling including a narrator, a setting, and a plot. But, narrative flash is quick...So, how do these authors write so short?...Select an idea with a limited scope. For example, craft a story around a moment in time. Narrative flash often focuses on a moment of change, realization[,] or final action...Be sure to keep the cast of characters small. You’ll need a main character and an antagonist, but the rest can be saved for their own stories later...Titles matter. Since word counts are limited, be sure to use all the words you are given, including the title. Your title can play double-duty by giving away clues to the plot, enhancing character, or establishing setting...Begin your story in the middle of the action. Robert Olen Butler says in From Where Dreams Come, 'All plot comes from the character’s trying to get something, to achieve something, wanting, desiring, longing.' Let the readers know what that is as early as possible...Tighten your writing by eliminating the adjectives and adverbs, cutting the 'he said,' and 'she said,' and make sure you are not telling what your prose is showing. For example, do not say, 'She was angry' and then show a scene of dialogue where two people are fighting...Cut out any backstory. Be sure to tell your story in the present time. Backstory can help you, the author, know more about your characters and story, but it should be the first thing to go in a story...Finally, choose a few, well-placed details. You do not need to tell us everything about a scene’s setting. Focus on the five senses but sprinkle those details throughout the story."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.