What Quentin Tarantino can teach you about fundraising copy

Quentin Tarantino knows how to write dialogue.

His characters’ conversations intrigue (from Pulp Fiction), provoke suspense (from Inglourious Basterds) and entertain (from Reservoir Dogs). His dialogue often reveals more about his characters than anything else onscreen.

While crucial to screenplays, dialogue is often missing from fundraising copy. But why?

I presented at Fundraising Day NYC a few weeks ago and fundraising writer extraordinaire Tom Gaffny made this exact point. People love to eavesdrop, to listen in on conversations. Draw them into your story with dialogue. He gave this great example from a YWCA appeal:

Shortly after the latest increase in heating oil, a fuel company received a phone call from the Mother Superior of a Convent.

She asked, “How much has the price of oil gone up?”

Wanting to break the news gently, the salesperson asked, “Are you sitting down, Sister.”

The nun replied, “I am kneeling.”

This short burst of dialogue at the top of the appeal — full of tenderness and a touch of humor — catches your audiences attention and brings them into the story.

So next time you sit down to write, think about utilizing some dialogue. And if you need some inspiration, just click here.