For this fun of it this time…
Recently read American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier. Well written, detailed … and it kept bringing fundraising writing to mind in a lot of ways …
– A good Case Statement should take into account all stakeholders. This document did, too, and like many good Case Statements it involved a little persuasion to push people for participation and ultimately to get everyone aligned around the core mission.
– The stakeholders here needed full engagement for the appeal to move forward. They ALL needed to buy in enough to create a dramatic change in their circumstances and then to fight a war to assert their new position.
– Consensus in thirteen distinct areas, each driven largely by self interest, all at different levels of buy-in as the program moved toward launch. Some colonies well on board. Others opposed at the outset. Lots of talk of “seasoning” and “ripening” of the revolutionary ideas in townships, then colonial legislatures.
– Once consensus seemed reached, someone had to write to draft Case Statement. Mr. Jefferson took the lead among an initial subcomittee, did a helluva job. Then he suffered largely in silence as the entire Continental Congress had their way with his draft. Ok, he did complain a bit to Franklin.
– The draft was sound at its core, so most of what the editors did was CUT. They tweaked a number of phrases, but cut the overall draft by about a third. In my experience, this is about the right amount of editing/tightening to get any copy ready for prime time.
– Like any good fundraising copywriter, Jefferson got good and angry when writing and overstated the positions, pushing the envelope on how aggressively he could argue the case. I do that too, but unlike Mr. J I fully expect the reviewers to ratchet everything back. If you don’t overstate some, you end up to watery after editing.