nonprofit writing tools

With the demand for content today, everyone is a writer. You can craft a whole sentence using emoticons 😎 and acronyms IMHO (in my humble opinion). But unambiguous writing requires a strong command of language. Good news: nonprofit writing tools can help you, whether you’re a best-selling author or just banging out an email.

Here are some of my favorites. I hope you find them useful, too.

Improve the Quality of Your Content

  • I use Grammarly every day for on-the-go reviews of my writing, especially on my iPhone and iPad. While the free version is helpful, the paid subscription does much more and includes plagiarism checks. I like the goal-setting feature that adjusts analysis based on a handful of simple choices.
  • If you tend toward wordiness, try the Hemingway App, a free tool that helps you write like, well, Ernest Hemingway. It has a simple user interface that scores you on readability. It also gives you sensible, easy-to-understand metrics. Hemmingway App may not be for you if you prefer James Michener, but most of us could use a little help tightening up our prose. 
  • Have you ever grappled for new ways to say the same old thing? Explore Related Words when you don’t exactly want a synonym, or you’re looking for different phrasing. 
  • If you’re a word nerd, play with the thesaurus at OneLook. It offers a reverse dictionary as well as related concepts, answers to basic identification questions, and even solves crossword clues. 

Polish Email and Simplify Social Media

  • Coschedule offers a free headline analysis tool. I use it to punch up email subject lines and blog titles. Shoot for a score of 70 or higher.
  • If you do a lot of social media posting, look at PromoRepublic for scheduling your posts. It’s affordable and well worth subscribing for the treasure trove of ideas, content, and templates that save time and help you create eye-catching graphics.
  • If you’re a data wonk, Onomics offers free data visualizations. I haven’t needed to use it yet, but it came to me highly recommended. I’m looking for an excuse to dive in.

Gather Ideas and Inspiration

  • The Etymology Dictionary is another little patch of heaven for word nerds. It can give you the origin of an English word or phrase, its definitions(s), slang usage, and related entries.  
  • Use Answer The Public (answerthepublic.com) for an idea generator. Enter keywords and discover the most popular searches. Answer the Public pulls data from Google searches and may give you ideas for your next assignment. 

Nonprofit Writing Tools Help But They Don’t Write For You

Writing is a creative process. Sometimes writers break the rules deliberately. If everyone followed them religiously, we wouldn’t have “Ulysses” by James Joyce, “Catcher in the Rye” by Holden Caulfield, or anything by Ernest Hemingway. 

Nonprofit writing tools are just that: tools. They catch errors and generate suggestions. Like the spell-checkers in today’s writing software, they don’t always make sense, and they don’t find every mistake. Use the information they give you wisely, but don’t let it rule your writing. 

Are you ready to give your donors the content they deserve? Here’s a Donor-Centered Content Marketing worksheet you can use as a template to enhance your donor communication efforts.

Mary Beth Deans

Mary Beth Deans

Chief Word Crafter at Deans & Company
Mary Beth launched Deans & Company to help her clients tell their stories. Before launching this business, she was a project manager. Her clients know her as someone who could take the panic out of a project. Her favorite challenge was the high-visibility program that needed a sensible, levelheaded approach. She loves the art and craft of the storyteller.
Mary Beth Deans