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How to Write Effectively For a Cause
by Mary Emma Allen

Return to Successful Freelancing · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version

Incidents will occur in your life that prod you to write for a cause. This writing may be to right a wrong, educate and inform, help others avoid a situation that's happened to you, or raise funds.

You may do this as an individual writer. Or you may work with a group, helping them in various ways with your writing talents. Sometimes you'll get paid for the articles you write to inform others about this cause. Other times you write simply because you want to share and help others.

What Are Causes?

Causes encompass almost anything that affects your life or the lives of others. They may include issues such as: Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, environmental concerns, political issues, organ donation, literacy, preserving historic sites, rights for handicapped persons, campaigns against drunk driving, etc.

Here are some ways to spread the word about your cause:

  • Letters to the editor
  • Op Ed Articles
  • Essays (back page of magazine type)
  • Investigative reporting
  • Newsletters for an organization
  • Press releases
  • Speeches for yourself and others
  • Booklets/pamphlets (writing or editing)
  • Grant proposals
  • Fundraising
  • Books

How Are You Most Effective?

  • Write without anger and name-calling. When you write with obvious anger, perhaps even stooping to name-calling, you'll likely be considered a fanatic, one whose writing others will ignore or not want to be associated with. Instead of blasting off in anger, show through examples and facts the arguments that prove your point or help others see another side to a topic.

  • Check your facts. Whether you're writing articles, grant proposals, booklets, a speech -- in fact, for any project -- make sure your facts and figures are accurate. Don't simply write "off the top of your head" with emotion rather than accuracy. You'll lose credibility quickly this way.

  • Appeal to emotions. You do want to appeal to people's emotions, not in a maudlin or insincere way, but in a manner that enables them to relate to other people or situations. Often they'll recall something similar they or a friend encountered and thus understand better what you're trying to say.

  • Use clear, short sentences, not rambling epistles. Keep your writing precise, even when using a conversational tone. While rambling pieces or scholarly tomes have their place, generally you need to keep your writing simple, yet clear and concise.

  • Know your audience. Know the people whose attention you wish to attract with your writing or speech. Use a different tone for a humor essay than a grant or investigative report.

  • Use humor to make a point. Most readers are receptive to humor. One or two humorous references, even within a serious piece, help keep your reader/listener's attention.

  • Use case histories and examples. Relating your or others' experiences give credibility when writing about a cause.

The Rewards

In writing for a cause, your rewards are many and may even be monetary. You know you're using your writing talents to help a cause dear to your heart and bring awareness, information and comfort to others.

As you draw attention to yourself and your writing, you may be asked to write more on this topic and even to speak about it. From writing for free to further a cause, you may receive payment for your articles from other publications and talks before groups.

As writers we have the "power of the pen" (and nowadays our keyboard connected to the Internet) to reach out to people around the world to do good, to comfort, and encourage.

Copyright © 2001 Mary Emma Allen
This article may not be reprinted without the author's written permission.

Mary Emma Allen is a children's writer and teacher. She is a graduate from the Institute of Children's Literature and has had more than 200 stories published in magazines and anthologies. A number of her stories and poems, along with her illustrations, appear in her book, Tales of Adventure & Discovery. Visit Mary Emma's web site: http://maryemmallen.blogspot.com/.


Copyright © 2018 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

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