Iain Bernhoft

Iain Bernhoft works as Managing Consultant in American Philanthropic’s Writing and Communication Department, where he helps to write, edit, and oversee our writing engagements and materials.

In addition to his several years of writing direct mail, grant proposals, and collateral fundraising material for our clients, Iain has over a decade of experience teaching English, writing, and rhetoric at various universities in New England. His writing has appeared in Modern Fiction StudiesThe Cormac McCarthy JournalCommonwealPhilanthropy Daily, and various journalistic outlets.

Iain holds a Ph.D. in English from Boston University. He works out of Providence (the one in Rhode Island), where he lives with his wife and their two sons.

Microphones representing finding your voice when doing effective fundraising writing
Imitation is the sincerest form of fundraising

The best fundraising writing captures a person’s “voice” without abandoning the rules and practices of effective donor communications.

American flag envelope representing nonprofit messaging during an election year
What to do about: messaging in an election year

Election years are full of potential for both fundraising and frustration. Here’s how to keep your communications strong—and yourself sane—in 2024.

Can a robot write a letter?

ChatGPT has its limitations, but (used wisely) it can be a powerful tool for improving your fundraising writing, saving you time and money along the way.

Right hand, meet left

Truly persuasive messaging relies on alignment between writing and design. AmPhil’s new Creative Studio brings the two under one roof and onto the same page.

Don’t shy away from being direct

Direct mail can seem like a distasteful tool that could ultimately compromise your organization’s integrity. Buying into that attitude may be costing your organization immensely.

Friends don’t let executives copyedit your fundraising appeals

Appeal approval processes should be structured to minimize the damage wreaked by executive editing.

foundation proposal
Revising foundation proposals: comprehension for the skimming reader

The key to a good proposal is readability. Do the hard work for your reader to avoid confusion and help them catch the gist on a quick skim.

The stories you need to tell

You’re ready to stop telling happy stories in your fundraising appeals, so how should your letters look? The second in a two-part series.

Stop telling happy stories

Are your fundraising appeals as strong as they could be? How happy is the story they tell? The first in a two-part series.

jonathan haidt
Righteous minds: America in disarray

Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” offers insight into why we disagree with each other and how we might better communicate. With our divided political climate, it is an important book for Americans who are seeing the “lesser angels” of their compatriots.