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Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke

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OPEN WITH A “HOOK”

Outstanding storytellers engage the audience with that first word or sentence. It’s the “hook” that pulls the reader into the story. The same is true in proposal writing. A talented proposal writer uses strong, not gimmicky, prose. Avoid openings that are too cute, too clever, or too cliché. For example, it is never a good idea to begin a proposal with the following: “No nonprofit agency is an island; no nonprofit agency stands alone. This is why we write to the XYZ Foundation.” Ugh.
I also advise you to refrain from relying on what I call “comfort language” to begin your proposal. I am referring to those safe, polite, and inoffensive phrases and sentences we tend to fall back on when we’re not sure what to say—sentences ...

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