Writing with feeling
The people at high-profile charity Sue Ryder talk with passion and conviction about the work they do. But Head of Business Development Annie Macleod noticed that this eloquence didn’t always carry through to the charity’s tender documents, which sometimes undersold the outstanding services Sue Ryder offers.
Because of the sheer volume of tenders and the specialist knowledge needed to put them together, outsourcing the writing wasn’t an option. So Annie asked Plain Text to develop a writing training course for a cohort of fundraising, business development and marketing colleagues. Our brief was to equip this group with the skills and techniques that would help them to be as convincing in writing as they are in face-to-face conversation.
Customised and practical
We began by assessing some sample tender documents and studying detailed tone of voice guidelines that Sue Ryder had just commissioned. The training agenda we suggested was completely customised to the charity and centred around practical exercises. Once it was agreed, we scheduled a one-day course in a central UK location.<
After presenting the charity’s tone of voice guidelines, we covered different aspects of writing best practice, applying them in each case to real-life examples. The course culminated in a group exercise in which teams were tasked with briefing one another verbally on a short writing challenge, then drafting and presenting their responses.
“Refreshing, practical and engaging.”
In a feedback session straight after the course, delegates said they appreciated the focused agenda and the fact that they were working with their own material. The team-based approach was popular too, with delegates finding it very helpful to hear each others’ ideas. “Delighted” summed up Annie’s response. She added: “This course really hit the nail on the head for us. Everyone has left with something they can put to use straight away. Plain Text’s training was refreshing, practical and engaging, and I’m confident we’ll see the fruits of it in our future tenders.”