How Mission-Based Writing is Like Dating

Think of a time when you were infatuated with someone, and you wanted to get them to like you, connect with them, and see if you could get a relationship going. That’s actually what you’re always trying to do in mission-based writing. Whether your goal is to persuade a foundation to fund your work, a donor or volunteer to contribute, or a potential client to come receive services, what you’re really trying to do is build a relationship, so it can help to apply commonsense dating tips to your writing.

Here are a few common sense tips to follow if you want to get a relationship going with someone new, whether in dating or in mission-based writing.

Get to know them. Learn what they like and care about, listen and show interest in their perspectives. Listen to your audience. What does the funder put out to the world to show who they are? What do your donors, volunteers, or clients care about? How do they see things? Reflect back their ideas to show you’ve paid attention and know.
Show that you appreciate them. Let them see that you enjoy their jokes and appreciate their talents, looks, etc. Show that you appreciate the great work the funder is doing, how hard the client is trying to address their challenges, how much the volunteer wants to make a difference, etc.
Help them get to know you. Share your thoughts, experiences, etc. Use stories and sensory language to show your readers what your world is like, how people at your organization or business see and feel, and what it is like to work with you.
Emphasize connections. Focus on what you have in common or ways your differences complement one another. Focus on how much you and your audience could accomplish together, highlighting how you are like them, and how your differences can benefit them.
Interact with them both intellectually and emotionally. Get into interesting conversations, open your mind and heart during your time together. Use a voice with distinctive character, stories, and emotional appeal, and support it with facts, statistics, and rational arguments.
Make them feel good. Be kind, pleasant, good-humored, and positive. Be positive and excited about all you can accomplish, and frame your clients in a way that shows how inspiring they are.
Show them you’re a good person. Be honest, open, and reliable. Be honest and confident. Demonstrate your knowledge and impact. Back your claims with expertise and cited research.
Introduce them to your friends and family. Show them how the other people and relationships in your life demonstrate who you are. Talk about your staff and clients as we to show a sense community. Show how you collaborate with others, and present a positive view of your community and of other organizations and businesses.

If you write like you want to entice your audience into a great, genuine relationship, it will be easier – and more fun – to win them over.


  • So true… I have never thought about it like this before. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    December 08, 2020
    • Erica

      So glad you liked it, Robbie!

      December 08, 2020

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