Morton Blackwell's Writing Standards & Style Guide
Introduction More than a decade ago, a generous, regular donor to the Leadership Institute in New Orleans wrote to me that LI stood out among all conservative groups she supported because, she said, "You treat me like an adult." Although we had not met, she wrote that she felt she knew me and considered me a friend. Later, when we met in person, she said other groups sent her computer letters, but my letters from LI were personal. Other groups, she said, wrote letters bordering on hysteria. LI didn't use gimmicks which would attract only the simple-minded. "You write long letters, but they're so interesting," she added. "You clearly explain the many good things you're doing. And I never see errors in your letters. I feel good about supporting your work." She felt many other groups showed incompetence through the poor quality of their mailings. For many years, I had her handwritten letter to me framed and on the wall in LI's production room -- for all LI staff to read and absorb. Somehow, her letter was lost in our 1996 move to our new building. I often hear similar compliments from generous LI donors. They see and feel what she saw and felt. When conservative leaders compliment me on how well LI retains and upgrades our donors, I think of that perceptive lady in New Orleans, Mrs. Rosemary Deutch. And I think about the immense value to the Leadership Institute of high standards in written communications. Our staff make this possible. I can set standards, but LI communicates effectively only because LI staff absorb and implement good writing skills. One final comment: A lack of consistency disorients donors. Remember that our donors like what we have written them. Don't make them uncomfortable by writing in a style they won't recognize as ours. Please note that I have printed in bold specific which most often require changes on materials submitted for my approval. Do me the favor of adhering to my standards these points. You'll save both of us time and aggravation. -- Morton C. Blackwell, September 2004 I. Page Layout A. Margins 1. Standard correspondence: 1.5” on the left and right. 2. LI letterhead: three lines or 1.4” top, 1” bottom. 3. MCB letterhead: 1.25” top, 1” bottom. 4. Second pages: 1” top and bottom. 5. Materials other than letters: 1” for all margins. B. Fonts 1. Courier/Courier New 12 pt. for all correspondence text. 2. Times New Roman for mass-produced booklets such as Read to Lead. 3. For advertisements and fliers, avoid using more than three different fonts. 4. Never use a font smaller than 8 pt., even for disclaimers. 5. Script fonts are appropriate only for invitations. 6. Don't use sans serif fonts for letter or body text; they are difficult to read. Why does Coca-Cola print their ingredients on their cans in all capital letters, in sans serif type, in small typeface, and in white letters printed on a dark background? The law requires printing of the ingredients. All these techniques make the text harder to read, and people don't buy colas because of their nutritional values or their preservatives. C. Tabs 1. Letter paragraphs should be indented 1 tab, equal to 5 spaces or ½ inch. 2. Block style (without initial indentations) paragraphs are appropriate only in memos. D. Pagination 1. The first page of a letter should usually not be numbered. 2. Page numbers for documents should appear at the bottom center of the page. 3. For correspondence, page numbers may be spelled out at the top left of the page, i.e., “page two.” Or you may place page numbers in the top right of the page or at the bottom center. E. Vertical Spacing 1. Single space between lines. 2. Double space between paragraphs. 3. Single space between bullet lists or numbered lists up to 5 items. 4. For more than 5 items, break list into equal groups of 2 to 5 items and double space between groups. F. Horizontal Spacing 1. Double space after period at the end of a sentence. 2. Single space after a semicolon. 3. Double space after a colon. G. Justification 1. As a general rule, all documents should have left justification. 2. Full or right justification makes text too hard to read. Only tables, books, and newspapers should use full justification. 3. Except on formal invitations, do not center each line of text even on cut lines (descriptions under photos and charts) or disclaimers; text with each line centered is harder to read. H. Headers and Footers Tables and graphs, on separate pages or not, should include headers and footers which include a title, print date and page numbers, if appropriate. II. Punctuation A. Comma 1. Use a comma between coordinate adjectives when not joined by “and.” It is my pleasure to recommend John Doe, a bright, independent, young man. 2. Use commas to set off dates, unless only the month and year are used. 3. Use commas to separate elements of an address. Morton Blackwell was born in La Jara, Colorado, in November 1939. 4. Use commas to set off direct quotations. President Reagan often said, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit.” 5. Use commas to avoid confusion. To err is human; to forgive, divine. 6. Use serial commas. That usually will make the sentence easier to understand. Red, white, and blue 7. Except for formal business correspondence with someone he does not know, set off the salutation line for MCB correspondence with a comma, not a colon. Dear Mr. Jones, 8. Use a comma before a conjunction to separate what could otherwise be two separate sentences, as in: The dog ran off, and Joe couldn't find him. 9. Do not use a comma before a conjunction where it merely splits two verbs in a sentence. Don't write: The dog ran off, and chased a cat. B. Semicolon 1. Use a semicolon between items in a series which contain internal punctuation. LI staff come to us with many qualifications: philosophical commitment; reputations for achievement; inter-personal skills; writing abilities, which can be improved by study and practice. 2. Use them between independent clauses linked with a transitional expression. In the middle ‘60s, movement conservatives in the D. C. area were a small group; in fact, we could have fit in a single phone booth. C. Colon 1. After a colon: Capitalize the first word if it starts a complete sentence. If not: lowercase. 2. Use a colon after an independent clause to direct attention to a list. Many prominent conservatives wear Adam Smith ties: Congressman Dick Armey, Dr. Milton Friedman, and Reed Larson wear them regularly. D. Apostrophe 1.Use apostrophes for possessive nouns. To show joint possession, use an apostrophe with the last noun only. We went to Morton and Helen's “Briar Patch” for the weekend. 2.Use apostrophes for contractions and abbreviations. Avoid using the contraction who're. We couldn't do that back in the ‘60s. 3.Do not use an apostrophe before the “s” when referencing a decade. Back in the1960s . . . E. Hyphens and Dashes One hyphen (-) does not a dash (--) make. A dash is a space followed by two hyphens, followed by a space. You can use dashes for emphasis -- but sparingly. F. Quotation Marks 1.Always place periods and commas inside quotation marks. After he cried “uncle,” I let go. 2.Place question marks and exclamation points inside quotations unless they apply to a sentence as a whole. a) Dave cried, “You won the election!” b) Did your opponent cry “foul”? 3.When writing out a long quotation, it is appropriate to indent quoted material rather than use quotation marks. 4.Use quotation marks around titles of articles from periodicals, poems, short stories, radio and television programs and book chapters. 5.Use of quoted material adds spice to your writing -- and helps substantiate points. G. Question Marks Do not use question marks for indirect questions. The donor asked if we could send him another set of mugs. H. Exclamation Marks Use exclamation marks only rarely, and never to end a long sentence. Use with genuine exclamations. I. Periods Periods are often not necessary for common abbreviations of organization names. NATO, IRS, USA To repeat: Always skip two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. J. Parenthesis 1. Always use when introducing acronyms. The National Right to Work Committee (NRTW) . . . 2. Use sparingly to make asides or to reference supplemental material. K. Brackets Use brackets around wording you insert into a quotation. Mr. Smith said, “I think [Governor Jones] is doing a great job!” (“Governor Jones” replaces the pronoun “he,” which might be ambiguous.) L. Ellipsis Use an ellipsis (space, period, space, period, space, period, space) when you delete portions of quoted material. M. Slash Slashes may be used sparingly to separate paired terms. Pass/fail III. Spelling and Mechanics A. Spelling 1. Always Spell Check your documents, and personally read through after the spell check. You may have intended to write the word “public,” but Spell Check will approve the word without an “l.” 2. Discriminate between words that look or sound alike but have different meanings. a) Affect (to exert influence) vs. effect (to accomplish; result) b) Its (possessive pronoun) vs. it's (contraction of “it is”) c) Loose (free, not attached) vs. lose (fail to keep) d) Their (possessive pronoun) vs. they're (contraction of “they are”) vs. there (place or position) e) Who's (contraction of “who is”) vs. whose (possessive form of who) f) Your (possessive form of you) vs. you're (contraction of “you are”) g) Lightning (a thunderbolt) vs. lightening (making less heavy) h) In the lead (front), he led (guided) soldiers who carried lead (metal) batteries. B. Hyphens 1. Do not use a hyphen in the word fundraising. 2. Avoid using hyphens to divide words at the end of a line in a letter. 3. Use a hyphen to avoid ambiguity (re-creation) and to separate double or triple letter combinations (cross-stitch). 4. Always use a hyphen with prefixes such as all, ex, self. Self-starter 5. Use a hyphen with the suffix elect. President-elect C. Capitalization 1. Capitalize titles used as part of a proper name. Except for the U.S. President, use lowercase for titles used alone. a) Then, Congressman Armey announced his retirement. b) The congressman traveled home for the district work period. c) I sent the President a book of anti-Soviet jokes. 2. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence but not a quoted phrase. 3. After a colon: Capitalize the first word if it starts a complete sentence. If not: lowercase. 4. Capitalize abbreviations for government agencies and corporations. 5. Headlines can sometimes be all in CAPS. Avoid sentences or paragraphs of text all in CAPS because they are hard to read. 6. English and German have different capitalization rules. Do not capitalize words unnecessarily. Write about the left, not the Left. Write about movement conservatives, not Movement Conservatives. D. Abbreviations/Acronyms 1. Use only when you are sure the reader will understand them. In general, abbreviations should be used only after the word is spelled out, followed by the abbreviation enclosed in parenthesis. 2. Once you have introduced an acronym, don't use it too many times without spelling out the words occasionally. 3. Use abbreviations relating to time and currency only with specific numbers and amounts. 40 B.C., $150, 4:00 P.M. (or p.m.) 4. Avoid inappropriate abbreviations. Xmas E. Numbers 1. Spell out numbers which begin a sentence or change word order to put the number later in the sentence. 2. Maintain consistency when representing numbers in a document. F. Underline and Italics 1. Titles of books, plays, films, web sites and names of magazines or newspapers may be underlined or italicized. 2. Use underline to draw attention to important points in your materials. 3. Use italics or underline for foreign words in an English sentence. 4. Never use underline and italics in the same text. Underlining is only a substitute for italics. G. Bold Use bold to set off headings and, occasionally, to draw attention to stressed text. However, too much bold text is difficult to read. H. Foreign Language Characters If your computer can do it, always use proper foreign language characters, such as à, é, î, ñ, ö. If not, insert symbols by hand in personal letters. I. Bullets Use bullets to draw attention to important points or to items in a series. Never use a single bullet. J. Decimals When presenting a column of dollar values within a document, align vertically by decimal. $3,000.00 24.50 122.14 Total: $3,146.64 K. Number Agreement Plural and multiple subjects require plural forms of verbs. Singular subjects require singular forms of verbs. 1. Correct: If you happen to know of anyone who would benefit from our training, please send him or her our way. 2. Correct: If you happen to know of any people who would benefit from our training, please send them our way. 3. Incorrect: If you happen to know anyone who would benefit from our training, please send them our way. IV. Word Choice A. Construction Elements 1.Avoid redundancies (“true fact”) in your drafts. 2.Word repetition may be used for effect, but use only when necessary. Variety adds spice. 3.Make your sentences direct; avoid needlessly indirect and complex structures. 4.Most great lines use short words. 5.Avoid pretentious language. 6.Use jargon and figures of speech carefully. 7.Choose your words carefully -- avoid misuse. Sometimes a word is just plain wrong. Other times a word is OK, but another word would be much better. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” B. Active Voice, Not Passive Voice 1. In active voice, the subject of a sentence performs the action of the verb. The boy hit the ball. 2. In passive voice, the subject of a sentence does not perform the action of the verb. The ball was hit by the boy. 3. While both active and passive voices are grammatically correct in structure, a sentence in the active voice is strong writing while a sentence in the passive voice is weak writing. 4. A sentence in passive voice may make the reader work harder to understand the intended meaning. Passive voice can also hide responsibility for action, which is why passive voice is so often used in official documents or public statements. Mistakes were made. 5. A sentence in active voice is easier to understand than the same sentence in passive voice. Active voice creates vivid mental pictures of action for the reader. Passive voice creates confusion and a sense of distance from the truth. To write in the active voice, make sure the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb. C. Strong verb choices 1. Active verbs are the strongest verb choices for effective writing. Active verbs provide clarity and vigor in writing. 2. Verb phrases that use a form of to be as a helping verb are weaker than simply using the active verb by itself. “I fight liberal bias.” is stronger than “I am fighting liberal bias.” D. Variations on verb usage When verbs are used as objects in a sentence and not as the core subject-verb team, you have two choices: a gerund (-ing words) or an infinitive (to + verb). In this case, gerunds are weaker than infinitives. “I prefer to work in my office.” is stronger than “I prefer working in my office.” Use infinitives, not gerunds, as objects in sentences. E. Avoid like the Plague 1. “As you know” or “You know” Don't write “you know.” If they already know it, why should you write it? Better to say, “As you may know.” 2. Errors of Fact Check all facts carefully. One careless error can destroy your credibility. 3. Exaggerations and Exuberant Self-descriptions Use of self-congratulatory descriptions such as ‘incredible,” or “fantastic” or “phenomenal” appear boastful or sophomoric. Use the remarkable facts about our programs, which can speak for themselves. You earn credibility when you understate rather than overstate. Exaggeration of problems, proposed solutions or achievements turns off readers. 4. “Hopefully” This word is an adverb, which must modify a verb. a)Correct: She prayed hopefully for her child's recovery. b)Incorrect: Hopefully we will win the contest. 5.“I” Avoid excessive use of the word “I.” Don't use “I” to start many sentences, particularly the first sentences of many paragraphs. Keep a high ratio of the uses of “you” to the uses of “I.” “You” or “I” at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph counts more than “I” or “you” inside a sentence or paragraph. 6. “Ideology” Never use “ideology” to refer to conservative principles. To veteran fans of Dr. Russell Kirk and young fans of Dan Flynn, ideology is correctly understood as a negative term for bodies of impractical ideas which capture the minds of fanatics. “Ideologue” is unquestionably a term of derogation. “Philosophy” (love of knowledge) is a term we can use to describe conservative principles and core beliefs. 7. “Importantly” Generally avoid “importantly.” It is not correct to say “more importantly” if you mean “more important.” a) Correct but awkward: A President of the United States generally acts more importantly than does a pickpocket. b) Correct: More important, Packards were great automobiles. c) Incorrect: More importantly, Packards were great automobiles. 8. “Like” Avoid writing anything such as: “I would like to invite you to . . .” Write “I invite you to . . .” or “I cordially invite you to . . .” Formal, printed invitations may read: “You are cordially invited to . . .” If you decide to do something, do it. Don't say you'd like to do it. 9. “Need” Use of the word “need” is a turn-off. It's a “stopper.” It can stop people from reading. People resent the suggestion that a “need” entitles someone else to their possessions. Do not use “need” in LI materials, except in rare instances which refer to a need of the reader. 10. "-ness" Avoid the ugly practice of making nouns out of adjectives by adding "-ness" when there's a perfectly good root noun. Adding "-ly" to an adjective often makes a useful adverb (graceful/gracefully or grateful/gratefully), but adding "-ness" to that adjective often makes an awkward and ill-begotten noun. Go back to the root noun. a) Correct: Her manners showed grace. b) Incorrect: Her manners showed gracefulness. c) Correct: He failed to show gratitude. d) Incorrect: He failed to show gratefulness. 11. “That” Avoid this over-used word unless your sentence doesn't make sense without it. “Which” is often better. Never use “that” or “which” when you refer to people; use “who” or “whom.” 12. “To Be” Do not use any form of the verb “to be” if you can easily restructure the sentence to use an active verb. Review every draft to minimize use of “to be” throughout your document. Unnecessary uses of forms of “to be” constitute sure signs of a poor draft. a) Correct: He impresses her. b) Incorrect: She is impressed by him. 13. “Want” Never use “want” to refer to the writer's desires or to a third person's desires. That's a turn-off. Everyone senses, deep down, that “wants” of others are unlimited, and, like “needs,” far beyond our ability to satisfy them. It is sometimes acceptable to use “want” to refer to the reader's desires. In writing, “want” is a feeble crutch, as bad as “you know” in spoken conversation. If you are doing something, it's a safe bet you want to do it; so saying you want to do it when you are actually doing it is worse than redundant. Incorrect: I just wanted to send you this letter because . . . 14. “We” Never use “we” to refer to LI. Use “we” only when it clearly means “you and I.” A letter with too many uses of “we” is a “we-we” letter. F. Choose Carefully 1.“Affect” vs. “effect” 2.“Capital” vs. “capitol” 3. “I” vs. “me” 4.“Its” vs. “it's 5.“Like” vs. “as” 6.“Principal” vs. “principle” 7.“There” vs. “their” vs. “they're” 8.“Which” vs. “that” 9.“Who” vs. “whom” 10.“Only” Where you place this word makes a big difference in the meaning of the sentence: Only she said she loves me. She only said she loves me. She said only she loves me. She said she only loves me. She said she loves only me. 11.Use contractions only when they make your text more pleasantly conversational, less stilted and easier to read. Avoid the contraction of “who are.” You may use who're in spoken conversation, but in writing it looks so much like a certain unpleasant word that it's a “stopper.” That is, it stops the reader, which interrupts the thought you may want to convey, and make what you write harder to read. V. Letter Copy A. Date Write out the date and center it on the letterhead. Or you may tab over five times, and then tab over five times also for the complimentary closing at the end of the letter. B. Address and Salutation 1. In typing people's names in their addresses, use the proper titles and forms of address. Use a title before the name. Avoid excessive abbreviation within the address, except the state code. The correct form on an address, on an envelope or in a letter, would be: Mr. John J. Jones 123 Anystreet Anytown, VA XXXXX This would be improper: John J. Jones 123 Anystreet Anytown, VA XXXXX If you know whether a woman is married or not, use Miss or Mrs. as appropriate. If you do not know if a woman is married, or if you know that she prefers Ms., use Ms. 2.Use a first name salutation only if you are certain it is appropriate. Many polite people, especially older people, resent unwarranted familiarity. C. The Opening Your first sentence should be short and should irresistibly lead the reader to read on. Recipients who open your letter almost always read the first line. It determines whether many recipients continue to read. Writing a first line which grabs the reader may take longer than writing the rest of the letter. Examples of “grabbers” include: 1. You don't know me, but I found your wallet. 2. I can tell you now who Deep Throat was. 3. Somebody told me something about your wife. 4. You may wonder how I got the giraffe into that elevator. 5. Personally, I get angry every time I see big media liberal bias undermining our country. D. Body 1. Keep it personal! a) Every letter, and sometimes every page, should have content that could only be signed by the intended signer. Text should include much information specific to the signer. b) For a mass mailing, nevertheless try hard to write to a person, not to a mailing list. c) To the extent possible, the letter should be specific to the recipient. Why are you writing him or her, rather than to other people? Why and how are the signer and the recipient “soul-mates?” d) You “you” them and they'll “yes” you. Next to a person's name, the word you can say most likely to focus that person's attention is “you.” 2. Strive to make what you write easy to read and attractive to the eye. 3. Construct short and declaratory sentences. Long sentences tend to be hard to read and hard to understand. 4. Be consistent with tenses. Do not hop from past to present to future if parallel construction is appropriate. 5. Paragraphs should be no more than 5 lines, 6 lines only in case of national emergency. Long paragraphs are hard to read. 6. Each page should please the eye. Mix short paragraphs with longer paragraphs to help draw the reader's eye down the page. Paragraphs all about the same length make the page look “gray” and harder to read. 7. Spice up your text by underlining, quotes, or using numbered or bulleted lists. Such variations tend to make the text easier to read. 8. The letter should repeatedly work to convince the recipient of the urgency of taking the action you want. Who writes a check or takes an action that is not needed right away? 9. If you want someone to contribute or to take action, your letter should stress the benefits to the reader if the reader takes the action you desire. 10. Development staff must check out all Programs-related text with the head of the Programs Department. Never promise anything which can't certainly be done. Under-promise so we can over-perform. Credibility counts most to serious donors. 11. Programs staff must produce materials and operate in such a way as to make donors proud if they knew every detail of LI programs. 12. You cannot write a letter too long, but you can write a letter too boring. 13. Thank yous. a) A thank you must be prompt and down to earth. b) It must be both professional and warm. c) It should include specifics about what is being achieved. d) Credit the donor, not your organization, with its achievements. E. Complimentary Close Letters drafted for Morton's signature should close with “Cordially” unless they are formal business correspondence to someone he does not know. F. P.S. The P.S. is second in importance only to the first line. Many people read the first line, then turn to the last page to look at the signature. Recipients then almost always read the P.S. Any letter written to generate an action by the reader should have a strong P.S. The P.S. should encapsulate the whole thrust of the letter and re-state clearly what action you request. G. Enclosures It is not always necessary to include in a letter the full title of an enclosure. Either is ok: 1. Enclosure: “1995-96 Election Cycle Business and Association PAC Study” 2. Enclosure: PAC Study H. "Sparkle" Unfortunately, writing can conform to all the rules of English and layout but still be dull as dishwater. You can accomplish only so much by following correct forms. People usually help people, not organizations. Strive always to add some personal "sparkle" to what you write. Examples: a cute turn of phrase a hint of clever, double meaning a shared "secret" which leftists wouldn't appreciate something interesting that's previously unknown about you a profound prediction about future events a dismay almost certainly shared by the reader a novel reason for hope an important fact you've discovered a heartfelt compliment a new way of saying thanks best and easiest of all, a previously untold and moving story. “Sparkle” also includes what the late Robert Bartley of The Wall Street Journal called “muzzle velocity.” By that he meant wording which has impact. Professionals don't write dull copy. VI. Other Materials A. Memoranda LI office memoranda should conform to the Reagan White House style. That memorandum form follows: January 7, 2002 MEMORANDUM To: All Staff From: Morton Subject: LI Memos Please take time to construct on your computer a memorandum template using the Reagan White House style for your inter-office communication. Thanks. Please note: 1. Use full left justification for memo text. 2. Do not tab memo paragraphs, but do double space between them. 3. Use “Subject” rather than “Re:” in your communications. It's more personal. 4. Insert four blank lines between the subject line and the body of the memo. 5. Do not use a complimentary close as you would to end a letter. B. Reports Construct your reports with the following in mind: 1. Use sensible/linear construction. Present topics in a logical order. 2. Effectively communicate your material. Needlessly wordy text bores the reader and hinder communication. 3. Reports must be paginated. 4. Label attachments so they may be easily referenced. 5. Title and date all reports as well as each table or graph in the report. 6. Insert “headings” to separate different topics. C. Graphs As you prepare graphs and tables: 1. Do not print words or data below 8 pt. font. Smaller is too difficult to read. 2. Graphs and tables should have a header which provide a sufficient description of the data it presents. 3. Graphs and tables should also feature footers which indicate the date the material was prepared or printed. D. Promotional Material Posters, fliers and brochures should feature: 1. Concise, readable wording. 2. High emotional impact. 3. Consistent typeface, all run horizontally. 4. “White space.” That is, an un-crowded look. 5. Easily comprehensible pictures, illustrations or other graphics. 6. For photos in printed materials meant to be handled by the reader, follow the “dime” rule: No person's head should be printed smaller than a dime. People can't react with empathy to a face whose features are too small to see. 7. Photogenic people. LI trains thousands of people. Use photos of the most photogenic ones. 8. Posters should have few words. The message on a poster should be strong and easy to understand. Good posters avoid subtlety. 9. Fliers and brochures should have no more than three different typeface styles. A greater variety makes them harder to read. 10. The text in a flier or brochure should be nothing but elaboration of its headlines and sub-headlines. A reader should “get” your entire message just by reading your headlines and sub-headlines. In fact, that's the first thing most readers do; they read the headlines and sub-headlines. Some readers do only that. The Editing and Approval Process A. Proof your Draft 1. Provide citations as necessary for quoted material. 2. If you plan to distribute proprietary materials, obtain permission first. 3. Make sure the LI address, other contact information and disclaimer are on each piece of material produced for public distribution. 4. Read your first draft thoroughly to check grammar, spelling, style and content. Don't rely always on your computer's Grammar Check. It's sometimes wrong. When in doubt, reason it out, perhaps with the aid of a dictionary. 5. Spell-check each draft on the computer. But that's not enough. 6. Print a copy after you correct your draft. 7. Have a peer review it. Four eyes are better than two. 8. After making your “final” corrections, do a final spell check and read through carefully again. B. Final Approval 1. Completely fill out a Mail Approval Form. They are required for all LI printed material and mass mailings – but not required for staff's personal business letters. Personal business letters drafted for Morton's signature do not require a Mailing Approval Form. 2. Obtain on your Mail Approval Form your Vice President's approval of your entire, proposed package. 3. Obtain on your Mail Approval Form the approval of LI's Communication Manager. 4. Schedule a meeting with Morton well in advance of your “drop date.” Allow time to schedule an additional meeting with Morton, because additional edits may be needed. 5. When you meet with Morton, present the Mail Approval Form and the entire, proposed package. Include all supplemental materials, fliers, business reply envelopes, etc. This rule of complete draft packages also applies to one-of-a-kind presentations prepared for individual major donors or foundations, although one-of-a-kind proposals do not require mail approval forms. 6. No material shall be produced for public distribution until Morton has initialed the Mail Approval Form. 7. As soon as possible after getting Morton's approval on your Mail Approval Form, return to Morton's assistant your original copy of the text on which Morton has personally written edits. She will note in the Log the date she received it. You may make a copy of Morton's edits for your own files. This file of Morton's edits will be available from his assistant for LI staff to review, which may help you in the future to meet Morton's required standards.