Is it a quest for authenticity?
Is it a sincere—yet misguided—belief that the unvarnished truth is always better? And a little tweak here, a little photo correction there is thine enemy?
Whatever it is, I'm here to squash it like a bug with the Frye boot of donor relations Creative Director Style.
I've stopped reading several articles, gasped at even more photos and shook my sorry head at a week's worth of newsletters because of it. "It" is three things:
- Zero editing
- Horrible photos
- No proofing
Bottom line: donors are not going to be mad at you if you correct their grammar or do a little Photoshop. I would even go so far as to say they will be thrilled to have a slightly spiffed up version of themselves reflected back to them.
And I'm not talking about making up quotes or Kardashian-like levels of optical foolery.
Here's what I mean:
Edit for grammar. I always let interviewees read what I've written and approve it before it's published. Not once has anyone emailed back and said, "No, I used a double negative here and misused another couple words in the first paragraph - please change it back."
Color correction. An email came through today that contained a photo of a woman who is lovely I'm sure, and a generous donor to this particular organization's mission. Her eyes glowed red in her photo. Red like a demon. I think she might have appreciated a quick touch up from our old friend Photoshop. If someone is setting up HTML emails for you, this isn't an unreasonable task.
Proofing. There will always be errors. As I write this, I know I'm tempting the gods of typos and will probably do something really embarrassing this week. Such is life. But you can tell when something has sailed into production with nary a second look. Nothing says "I don't care" more than tons of typos. (I love you, proofreaders ... I love you.)
We owe it to donors to give it our best shot and portray them as who they are: indispensable, wonderful people who make good work possible. Let's make sure we have their backs as copywriters and designers and catch the little things.