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Your 3-Letter Persuasive Powerhouse

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Updated 3.8.24


When you see that little 3-letter word, what’s your gut reaction?

  • “There’s not a moment to lose.”
  • “It’s happening as we speak.”
  • “Do it immediately.”
  • “I must respond right away.”

An itsy-bitsy, 3-letter word can do that to you.

The word "now" is simple. But its effect is powerful.

You can use it in articles, on envelope teasers, in fundraising appeals, on response devices … in any document where you want to propel your reader into action.

What’s more, the word now seems so inconsequential that your reader might not recognize that you’re pressing him.

That’s a big plus.

Readers and donors and prospects don’t want to feel they’re being “sold.”

5 writing tips for using "now," a simple 3-letter word that's powerful in persuasive writing. With Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriting

How to Use "Now" in Your Content

There are several different ways to inject this petite 3-letter bonanza of persuasiveness into your copy. Take a look …

  • Use now to tell a story. Paint a picture about what’s current in your organization. This puts your reader in a front row seat: “Right now, there are more than 700 schools in southeast Asia waiting for our construction materials so they can rebuild and reopen.” Your reader will experience the problems you’re trying to fix and see the solutions you’re offering – both excellent motivators.
  • Use now to show contrast. This is particularly helpful when you’re making a case for change, as in nonfiction articles or in copy that introduces a new program or service. It showcases benefits. “I used to think I could wait until December to do my Christmas shopping. But thanks to bigger and bigger crowds, now I know better.”
  • Use now to communicate a tight time frame and create urgency. “Act now, while there’s still time to get food supplies and clean water to those in need.” Giving the reader a deadline in a call to action compels him to act sooner … rather than later.
  • Use now to give the reader instructions. Once you’ve made an excellent case for your product, event or service, then it’s time to tell your reader exactly what to do. It’s a subtle way to get the reader to proceed to the next logical step, instead of waiting and reducing the likelihood of his response: “Right now, fill out the reply card, place it in the envelope with your most generous gift and drop it in the mail.”
  • Use now to tighten your copy. It’s only three letters long … shorter than immediately, right away, or even at once.

Concise, simple, compelling. Use this 3-letter dynamo now.

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