Putting Pen to Paper to turn Passion into Progress

Emily Kellner

There are a lot of inspirational quotes out there about passion.

“Passion is the genesis of genius.”
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
“Do what you love. Love what you do.”


Emily Kellner, CCAH Copy Writer 

But if you really want to know about passion, all you need to do is spend a few minutes with Bill Wallauer.

Bill’s session was the last one before lunch. Within seconds of walking into the room, the excitement in his voice and twinkle in his eye captured the attention of seventy-something hungry direct marketing professionals. I can assure you that making CCAHers forget about an impending taco buffet is no easy feat—we have strong appetites.

Emily Kellner

But as Bill shared stories of his time in Tanzania—tracking chimpanzees with names like Glitter and Frodo—every single person in the room was enthralled. He practically overflowed with excitement as he told us about JGI’s incredible work.  

His enthusiasm was contagious as he described the complex emotions and personalities of the chimps he knows and loves, almost like members of his own family.  

During the entire talk, my eyes never once peeked at the clock. My thoughts didn’t wander. Instead, my whole heart ached when Bill told the story of a chimp mourning the loss of a loved one. Later, I was overcome with nostalgia as he shared a video of young chimp siblings playing and laughing, just as my brother and I used to do.


It was settled. I was ready to open my wallet and give every dollar I have to JGI to protect these amazing creatures.

As a copywriter, that’s exactly the reaction I aim for when I (figuratively) put pen to paper.  Not every donor gets the opportunity to spend an hour listening to Bill speak.

Instead, it’s my job to channel our clients’ passion for their work and translate it into the written word—without losing that visceral response we all got from Bill’s presentation. 

I don’t want donors to glance at the clock. I don’t want their minds to wander. And I certainly don’t want them to put down my letter or delete my email without making a generous donation.

So I’m responsible for combining art and science to evoke that same emotional response while weaving in the fundraising best practices we know will get the cash flowing in.

Whether it’s protecting chimps, conserving public land, finding a cure for cancer, or electing progressive candidates to public office, our clients are doing amazing things.

And it’s certainly not hard to be passionate about that. 


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