How to Capture Your Donor’s Attention in 8 Words

by | May 6, 2015

That’s All You Get

You have eight words to capture a donor’s attention.

In the ongoing war for a reader’s attention, you’re the underdog caught in an epic battle, competing with the internet, texting, emails, voicemails and all sorts of other distractions.

According to StatisticBrain, the average person’s attention span is a mere eight seconds. Translate that into the written word and you’ll discover that the average adult reads one word per second or eight single words.

You must choose wisely for your message to resonate.

Whether it is email subject lines, newsletter headlines, or blog post titles, you have only a few moments to capture your reader’s attention before it’s drawn elsewhere.

No pressure!

How to Capture Your Donor’s Attention

Generate Curiosity

We humans have a deeply curious nature, and nonprofits can harness the power of that curiosity and use it to their advantage. Apply this strategy to create

better subject lines, better envelope teasers, and newsletter headlines.

Rock the Power Words

Use power words as much as possible—they enforce your message and persuade people to read on. Try these on for size:

  • Ultimate
  • Boost
  • Awesome
  • Powerful

Benefits are Important

People read content that is going to benefit them in some way, shape or form. Mentioning a benefit in the headline and intro paragraph encourages readers to take notice and want to play a part in your mission.

Look to Pop Culture

Embrace pop culture. There is a reason why your favorite magazines and websites follow a certain formula – it works! Take a page from People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, or GQ. The writers spend a ton of time crafting creative content and jazzy headlines. They know exactly what to say to get noticed.

Some ideas:

How Your Support Changed _________ into ___________

Why We Can’t _______ Without You

[Number] Simple Ways to __________

If We’d Only Known: Lessons learned from __________

[Number] Unexpected Ways you can  __________

10 Tips for ___________

Be Current

Focus your content on current events and news rather than rehashing the same old information. Restating facts they’ve already heard will immediately cause your reader to disengage. And even worse, they’ll think what you have to say is old news. Give them something fresh and new, and they’ll come back for more.

Your donor’s attention is selective. Write your message in a way that not only catches their eye but gives them a reason to read more.


Let’s get you paired up with a member of our editorial team. Contact us today at 800-669-1664 or to get started.
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