Proofreader or copyeditor? Head copyeditor Lindsay clarifies the difference and highlights why copyediting is essential to elevate your work.

Proofreader or copyeditor: who do you turn to for help on your document?

You’ve put a lot of effort into your document, and you want to ensure it’s flawless. But who do you turn to for help – a proofreader or copyeditor? It’s easy to confuse the two, and even some proofreaders promote their services as copyediting. However, the truth is that copyediting is the crucial step that takes your work to the next level, ensuring it’s polished, consistent, and error-free. Our head copyeditor Lindsay is here to explain proofreading vs copyediting and how a professional copyeditor can take your work to the next level. 

What is copyediting and why do you need it? 

Copyediting is a vital step in the document preparation process that ensures the final product is clear, concise, and of the highest quality. This comprehensive process involves much more than just correcting grammatical and punctuation errors. A skilled copyeditor has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of grammar and style. They ensure that the document is easy to read, the message is clearly conveyed, and the tone and flow are appropriate.

A copyeditor’s job is to scrutinize every aspect of the text, checking for inconsistencies in style, terminology, and formatting. They make suggestions for improvement, query unclear points, and perfect references. In addition, they may identify areas where the text lacks cohesion or where visual aids could improve understanding. Overall, the goal of copyediting is to ensure that the document is the best it can be, leaving no stone unturned in the quest for perfection. 

What is proofreading and when should you do it? 

Proofreading is the essential final step in the editing process. Its primary goal is to identify and correct any remaining errors, such as spelling and grammar mistakes. While some proofreading services may stop at correcting basic typos and punctuation errors, others go further and check for formatting inconsistencies. Nevertheless, when asking yourself “proofreader or copyeditor?”, proofreading alone is not sufficient for a document to reach its full potential.

Let’s look at the difference. 

To help you grasp the distinction, let’s compare a text that has only undergone proofreading to one that has received professional copyediting. 


Climate smart agriculture is a new method of farming that has been developed to combat climatechange. It is designed to bring together different techniques that can help farmers’ adapt to the changing climate, by ensuring that crops are more resistant to changes in temperature, rainfall and other climate condition. These can help farmers to be more productive and profitable, while at the same time it can help them reduce their carbon footprint.

Proofread only:
Climate-smart agriculture is a new method of farming that has been developed to combat climate change. It is designed to bring together different techniques that can help farmers adapt to the changing climate by ensuring that crops are more resistant to changes in temperature, rainfall, and other climate conditions. This can help farmers to be more productive and profitable while reducing their carbon footprint.

Note that the spelling and grammar mistakes have been fixed, and some sentences have been made more concise. However, this is far from optimum compared to a truly copyedited version! 

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an innovative, practical approach that addresses the challenges of climate change and food security. Integrating different CSA techniques can potentially improve crop yields, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance soil health. This method offers a range of benefits, including more productive and profitable farming, improved food security, and a reduced carbon footprint.

As well as fixing the basic errors, this version sounds more professional, is more engaging, and, most importantly, mentions food security! While the proofread version is technically correct, given food security is the primary rationale behind climate-smart agriculture, not mentioning it leaves the text missing valuable information.


In conclusion, when it comes to perfecting your document, it’s important to understand the critical difference between proofreading and copyediting. While proofreading can catch basic errors, it’s the comprehensive copyediting process that ensures your work truly shines. A skilled copyeditor doesn’t just fix grammar and punctuation, they scrutinize every aspect of the text, ensuring it’s clear, concise, and consistent.  

At Scriptoria Solutions, we know the value of professional copyediting, which is why our team of experts go the extra mile to make sure your work is the best it can be. Ready to take your work to the next level? Let’s connect

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Struggling to manage multiple authors? See how our team helped the UN's brightest minds communicate confidently.

Balancing act: how to manage multiple contributing authors

Are you struggling with managing multiple contributing authors for your next writing project? You’re not alone. Bringing together multiple perspectives can create an exceptional piece of work, but it can also lead to a document that feels disjointed, repetitive, and disorganized. In this article, we’ll explore the challenges of managing multiple contributing authors and offer two practical solutions: conducting interviews and utilizing comprehensive copyediting. We’ll also share how we did this for the Unite Nation’s SDG reports, which are now published on UN Knowledge Bank!

In 30 Seconds:

  • Multiple contributors to a report is a great way to capture vast knowledge in a single document.
  • Multiple writers make for choppy, repetitive, long, disorganized documents.
  • Interviewing contributors instead of asking them to write is easier for them and produces a superior report more quickly and inexpensively.
  • If it’s too late to interview, a comprehensive copyeditor can get your draft into shape.

Scriptoria Solutions does exactly this for the United Nations SDG reports.

In 10 minutes:

Many voices, many words

World-class work is the culmination of many voices. And many voices make for…well, many words.

Your team has a report to write, so you divide the sections up by area of expertise, bug everyone to submit their piece, and then paste it all together. Sound familiar?

This is a solid approach for bringing great minds together. It also results in a document that comes across to the reader as choppy, repetitive, somewhat disorganized, and a little too long. Why is that?


Just as with oral language, everyone has a different tone and style to their writing. Whether it is warm, serious, upbeat, somber, instructional, friendly, informal, or straight-laced, we each have a unique personality on the page. When multiple authors’ work is strung together, the reader is taken by surprise by these abrupt shifts in personality — almost as if they were speaking to someone who suddenly began shape-shifting in the middle of the conversation.


Each author has their own section, but the larger topic remains the same. That means that many of the sections will share similar background information, and the sections probably even overlap somewhat. With each writer drafting a section as if it were a standalone piece, they are probably including information that others are also including in their sections.


In addition to repetitiveness, authors working in isolation breeds disorganization. Without knowing what others will be saying in their sections, the authors can’t make clear references to other sections that would help the reader piece things together. An author of a later section may explain something that would have helped the reader understand a previous section; this leaves the reader frustrated. The authors may even use different terms or explanations for the same concept according to their specialization, leaving the reader feeling like the document contradicts itself.


Repetition alone adds unnecessary length to a document. In addition, it is often extraordinarily challenging for a very knowledgeable person to judge what portions of their knowledge the reader needs to know to understand the point of the document, and what nice-to-know extras could be omitted to improve concision. When everyone starts writing everything they know about a topic they love, the file quickly becomes one of those intimidating behemoths that no one may ever read.

So what’s the solution to creating an outstanding document that captures everyone’s knowledge AND is intriguing for the reader?

Plan A: Interviews

At Scriptoria Solutions our favorite approach by far is interviewing contributors instead of assigning them sections to write. There’s several advantages to this approach:

  1. No one has to write. Let’s face it, none of the authors are excited about this task. They’d much rather talk about their favorite topic for an hour than write about it.
  2. External perspective. Your reader is external to your team. So who better to write for them than a person external to your team? An external writer who takes the time to learn your team’s shared knowledge — keeping the goal of the document top of mind — is perfectly poised to explain it clearly to someone else.
  3. Clarity. Humans have the curse of knowledge. It’s *really hard* to imagine not knowing something we already know. That means most of us aren’t skilled in explaining things we know really well. Interviews allow us to ask questions until we get really clear on what the author knows and how that relates to the topic at hand.
  4. Efficiency. It is much faster to draft a clear, organized, concise document than to give a long, choppy, disorganized file a makeover. This saves our clients both time and money.
  5. Flow. Best of all, a document written by a single person who has interviewed ALL of the contributors and carefully woven their messages together is in the flow. It has a unified voice. It says everything only once. It’s logically organized. And it’s brief. No more choppiness, repetition, disorganization, or eye-glazing length. Win!

Plan B: Comprehensive Copyedit

If it’s too late to interview, don’t despair. The next best solution is a comprehensive copyeditor. I don’t mean a human spellcheck. I mean someone who will read every single word of your file, and if they don’t understand something, they’ll work on it until it’s clear. (I just posted a great example of what a great copyeditor can do for you last week — check it out on our LinkedIn feed). A great copyeditor will unify the authors’ voices, reorganize to perfect the flow, remove repetition, and take a hard look at any non-essential information that may be making the document too long.

Case in point: the 2023 SDG Policy Briefs

Every year the United Nations selects a few of the SDGs to focus on through a report. They have some brilliant minds contributing to each report, and even the UN isn’t immune to the challenges of multiple contributors.

This is the second year running that we’ve conducted comprehensive copyediting and design of the UN SDG reports, and we already can’t wait for next year. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is for a group of professional communicators to help some of the world’s greatest minds on some of the world’s most wicked problems get their messages out into the world with clarity, concision, and confidence.

Four of the five SDG reports for 2023 are already live. Check them out on our website or the UN Knowledge Bank!

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Want to supercharge your message and make a lasting impact? Crafting an effective non-profit communication strategy is the key to success.

Build a non-profit communication strategy that will amplify your impact

In summary:

  1. Clarify your purpose
  2. Fine-tune your budget 
  3. Know your audience
  4. Choose your channels
  5. Craft your message
  6. Timing is everything
  7. Measure your results
  8. Refine and refocus

As a non-profit organization, your mission is clear – to positively impact the world. But how do you effectively communicate that mission to the masses? With our current crowded digital landscape, a well-crafted communication strategy is essential. But what makes an effective non-profit communication strategy, and how can you create one that truly sets your organization apart? Get ready to discover the key ingredients of a successful non-profit communication strategy, and learn how to craft a plan that will help you achieve your goals and make a real difference. Read on for strategic experts Laura Coomber and Megan Mayzelle’s 8 steps to an impactful non-profit communication strategy.

1. Clarify your purpose

Non-profits often have a different mission or purpose than for-profit businesses, and your communication strategy should reflect this. Take the time to define your goals and objectives and ensure that your strategy is consistent with your overall organizational objectives. This can be especially challenging for non-profits working to solve complex problems. Try to communicate in one sentence what you hope to achieve. Consider:

  • What’s the impact?
  • How are you doing it?
  • Where are you doing it? 

2. Fine-tune your budget

For non-profits, budgets can often be tight, and finding the resources to implement a communication strategy can be a challenge. To make the most of limited resources, consider the following tips:

  • Look for low-cost alternatives: You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to get the results you want. For example, you can create eye-catching graphics using free design tools (we love Canva!), or leverage community volunteers to help with outreach efforts.
  • Utilize metrics to track impact: By tracking the impact of your communication efforts, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate resources. Web analytics and social media metrics are powerful tools that can help you determine which initiatives are working and which ones are not. See step 7 for more on this! 
  • Prioritize essential communication channels: see step 4 for more on this. 

3. Know your audience

The majority of for-profit businesses only need to convince one person: the customer. In the non-profit world, there are many more stakeholders to bring on board. Is your current message directed to funders? Governments? Donors? Beneficiaries? You’ll need a different message and a different voice for speaking to each of them. Focus on one at a time, and tailor each message and channel directly to their needs and viewpoint.

The most common error we ALL make in communication is attempting to speak to everyone. We don’t want to ‘exclude’ anyone who may have been interested in what we have to offer. This is a natural instinct that you’ll have to defy to communicate effectively. There are two psychological principles behind this reasoning:

  • Humans connect with your offer when they feel like it was made for them. If you’re a remote career advisor, for example, a “time management course” might catch your eye, and a “time management course for career advisors working remotely” will stop you in your tracks. Keeping things so general to avoid excluding anyone results in generic words that speak to no one.
  • Humans respond the best to a reliable, constant presence. Unless your communication budget is massive, you can’t be everything all the time for everyone. So narrow down your audience so far that your communication budget will allow you to regularly communicate with them in the same way for an indefinite period of time. 

4. Choose your channels

There are many social media options for getting your message out to the world. When deciding what channels to use, consider where your target audience already spends most of their time– you can’t expect them to change their habits to hear from you. LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok are good options to consider. Rather than trying to establish a presence on all of them, choose one and focus on a targeted strategy. Just as in choosing your audience, the key to success in choosing a channel is identifying where you’ll be able to remain a constant communication presence for your selected audience for an indefinite period of time within your communication budget.

5. Craft your message

Non-profits often work in fields that elicit strong emotions, such as health, the environment, or social justice. And emotions are exactly what helps people engage. So avoid statistics, and lean into photos of the people who benefit from your work and their particular stories. Then, tell your audience how they are personally impacted by your work – whether it’s a safer community, the well-being of someone they love, or better prices at the supermarket. Empathy plus personal interest creates a sense of community and shared purpose.

6. Timing is everything

Timing is a key component of your strategy. As discussed above, being a reliable presence in your chosen channel for your chosen audience is essential. Define how frequently you can reasonably communicate via your selected channel to your chosen audience. Consider how much time, effort, and budget you have to give, as well as how often you have something to share that helps your audience. Communication shouldn’t be an advertising blast, but rather extending a hand to give them information that makes their life better. Additionally, identify events that you can and should speak to – for example, if your non-profit’s mission is environmental justice, Earth Day and the Climate Conference are important dates for you to speak out.

7. Measure your results

Non-profits are highly practiced in impact measurement. Communication is another area of your work where impact should be measured. Identify what the goal of your communication is; this may include raising awareness, gaining trust, increasing donations, or instigating a policy change, among many others. Decide in advance what the most accurate and the most practical ways to measure progress toward your goal are. Just as in an impact assessment of your work, sometimes the more accurate measure of your communication effectiveness is difficult to measure, so some combination of more practical measures can be more useful. Social media likes are a tempting measure, but it may be worth looking a bit further for a measure of success; the individuals who enjoy “liking” things on social media aren’t necessarily the audience you’re trying to reach. Consider web analytics and back-end social media metrics as more fine-tuned tools for evaluating your impact. Establish a goal for yourself – by X date we’ll have achieved Y milestone, and decide what actions you’ll take if you meet or fail to meet this goal. Having a data-informed plan in advance about how you’ll shift your strategy based on your audience’s response makes necessary change easier.

8. Refine and refocus

Communication is an ongoing process requiring refinement and adaptation. You’re doing things to change the world every day, so the world today is different than it was yesterday. That means adjustments to your strategy are crucial. You shouldn’t be changing the ultimate goal – who you are talking to and what you want them to hear – but you’ll certainly be changing the tactics you use to reach that goal. Since you’re deeply involved in your work, you’ll be aware of the latest trends and developments. Consider how these affect your audience, the information they want, and how they’ll receive and perceive your message. This will help ensure your content remains relevant and useful to your target audience.


A well-crafted communication strategy can skyrocket your non-profit’s impact. These 8 steps are a roadmap that will guide you to communicate effectively with the key stakeholders who need to know about your work. Effective communication is a journey of adjusting the way you move toward an unchanging goal. Creating a plan and a method for evaluating and readjusting that plan will help you create a lasting impact and achieve the results you strive for.

Ready for more on increasing the impact of your communications? Schedule a free audit!

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Scriptoria Solution's manuscript consultant explains the 6 essential components of an impactful discussion.
Academic Manuscripts, Research, Writeshop

Manuscript consultant shares the keys to amplifying the scientific impact of your work

Every scientist is thinking about impact. According to manuscript consultant Katiana Bougouma, the discussion section is where you have the greatest opportunity to amplify your scientific impact. Here’s her six keys to a high impact discussion section, in brief:

  1. Connect to something your readers care about 
  2. Contextualize
  3. Persuade
  4. Inspire future work 
  5. Transparently share limitations 
  6. Claim potentially conflicting conclusions  

Your discussion section is where you can make the most impact, showing your readers why they should care and what to do next. It’s also an opportunity to show off your expertise and contribute your own novel ideas to the world’s existing body of knowledge. Getting it right can be challenging – but we’re here for you! Read on for our manuscript consultant Katiana Bougouma‘s 6 key components of an impactful discussion:  

1- Connect to something your readers care about 

Your results section is a (sometimes dull) statement of your findings. Your discussion allows you to excite your readers with the value of your work. Clearly explain how your research moves the scientific community from the understanding of the issues before your research to a new more informed understanding of these issues based on your results.

2- Contextualize

Place your findings in the context of literature gaps. This gives you the space to assess your initial research question and/or hypothesis based on your findings. Be sure to: 1- highlight the potential implications of key results, 2- emphasize what aspects of the research topic your non-significant, but not insignificant results may clarify, and 3- expand on unexpected findings and what they might suggest. 

3- Persuade

Flex your persuasive writing skills to demonstrate to the reader the strengths of your arguments, while also highlighting the weaknesses of contrary opinions in the literature. 

This gets your readers on board with your conclusions and increases your chances of publication and subsequent impact, whether your findings align with existing literature or break away in discovery. Importantly, don’t convey an apologetic tone about your expert opinion. State your position as clearly and objectively as if you were simply reporting on someone else’s.

4- Inspire future work 

Real impact happens when your findings lead to action. Your discussion section is your chance to inspire future research. Maximize your chances of impact by recommending how the reader might explore the topic further and suggesting the next practical steps that incorporate this new knowledge.

5- Transparently share limitations  

Clearly stating the limitations of your study increases your credibility as an expert in the field. This is often the best way to establish trust with your readers, particularly peer reviewers and other field experts who are bound to assess your methods critically. Establish your authority by mentioning all the potential methodological limitations that could affect the validity of your findings, including those you may have already accounted for in your results, and postulating at how the implications could change, were any of them to be the case. 

6- Claim potentially conflicting conclusions  

Would others draw different conclusions from your findings? If so, pre-empt this by discussing alternate conclusions and their respective merits or lack thereof. Again, this increases your credibility by road-testing the evidence base for your interpretation in front of your readers. 


Your manuscript’s discussion section is your big opportunity to move from the dry reporting of findings to a more personal expression of your opinion as an expert in the field. By leveraging the six components of an impactful discussion, you’ll delve into the meaning, importance, and relevance of your research for future advancements, while also building your credibility as an expert. Apply these insights and watch your academic writing go to the next level! 

Ready for more on how to increase the impact of your academic writing? We’d love to tell you about writeshops. Let’s connect!  

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Megan Mayzelle spoke to Authority Magazine about being a social impact hero and her personal journey to entrepreneurial activism.

Megan Mayzelle featured as a Social Impact Hero by Authority Magazine 

In this latest interview, Scriptoria Solutions Founder Megan Mayzelle was featured in Authority Magazine’s Social Impact Hero series. She spoke about her personal journey to entrepreneurial activism, including the wins and the mistakes, and how Scriptoria Solutions achieves real social impact heroism. Make sure to check out the article here

Scriptoria Solutions grew organically, starting with Megan’s intuitive writing talent and making the move to freelancing. When demands exceeded capacity, freelancing became a company. Now our team of nine communication experts consults with major organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations, along with start-ups such as the Carbon Business Council and Green River. Whatever their size, every one of our clients is an environmental or social impact hero themselves.

“We are technical communications experts. We have the background to understand our client’s ‘language’ and the communications skills to synthesize and translate their message into something exciting for their target audience. In short, we take time-consuming documents off our clients’ to-do lists and make them masterpieces.”

– Megan Mayzelle

Scriptoria Solutions achieves social impact by serving exclusively social and environmental justice professionals, supporting them in communicating complex ideas to a variety of audiences. Our team’s expertise spans multiple areas, such as Lindsay’s wordsmithing and copyediting, Courtney‘s sustainable agriculture consulting, Isabelle’s policy brief mastery, Laura Coomber‘s impact strategy know-how, and Katiana’s data visualisation witchery.  

If you are a environmental or social impact here with a long time-consuming document on your desk, let us make it a masterpiece! Reach out today to chat with our team. 

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Climate action means systems change.
Climate Change

Our response to COP27: Climate action means systems change

As always, the results of these most recent climate negotiations were mixed. There were some wins, like the historic fund for “loss and damages”, as well as some faults, such as the lack of essential commitments to phasing out fossil fuels. Climate issues are closely tied to our team’s personal and professional interests, so we were watching the discussions closely. Keep reading to hear Megan, Laura, and Lindsay’s takes on COP27 and the systems-level changes needed in climate action. 

Social and environmental justice is good business 

Climate action, like most social and environmental justice efforts, is typically framed as a suite of necessary sacrifices to do the right thing. That angle might resonate with activists, but won’t reach the majority of the population. And why should it? Most of us rightly spend most of our time thinking about our household economics, health, education, and safety – with all the more reason now that real wages are plummeting faster than ever.

Climate action, at its heart, is the process of changing wildly inefficient, costly, leaky systems into highly efficient, highly productive, virtuous cycles. That conversion will stop the intangible belching of carbon into the atmosphere. It will also stop a lot of things that feel much closer to home for most of us. 

Highly efficient systems are cheap, clean, quiet, and easy to maintain. They’ll make our neighborhoods nicer, our bodies healthier, our work opportunities greater, our homes more pleasant, and our wallets happier. Climate-smart systems are health-smart systems, family-smart systems, work-smart systems, community-smart systems, and money-smart systems. 

Why are we still trying to convince people to care about what we care about, instead of telling them all the ways these changes will help with what THEY care about?

As it turns out, what they care about would help our cause, too. Project Drawdown estimates that equal rights to robust healthcare and education would reduce climate change impacts by as much as carbon removal technology. Notably, carbon removal technology has yet to be achieved at scale. We already know how to provide good healthcare and education to everyone; it’s simply a matter of doing it.

Megan Mayzelle

Negotiations shy away from food systems thinking

There was fear ahead of this year’s negotiations that agriculture would slip off the agenda as delegates discussed the continuation of the Koronivia Joint Work for Agriculture – the only UNFCC workstream on food. Thankfully, the workstream was renewed for another four years.

While it’s great that food is staying on the table, many are disappointed that the workstream kept its narrow focus on food security and agriculture rather than looking at food systems as a whole.

Food systems-thinking considers the full complexities of what we eat, moving beyond how it is produced to also consider how it is consumed, transported, and governed. While “food systems” language was initially included, some delegates were against it, and the final focus landed on the “implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security”.  

Tackling industrial agricultural systems is essential to climate action and resilience. However, this narrow focus fails to acknowledge the broader systemic issues of current food systems. A food systems-approach would ensure that present  challenges like consumption patterns, diets, food waste, and supply chains do not go unaddressed. Failing to consider the system as a whole perpetuates  bandaid technological solutions that are blind to the bigger picture. Effective climate action needs systems-thinking to ensure a just and healthy future for all.

Laura Coomber

Increasing yield at the cost of ecosystems, biodiversity, and animal welfare

An EU-proposed strategy at COP27 aims to ensure its member states and developing countries receive a stable supply of fertilizers for farming. Fertilizers have undoubtedly provided socioeconomic and developmental benefits through improved crop yields. However, excessive use of fertilizers has become rampant, and it has dramatic consequences for the planet.  

Fertilizers have dramatically decreased malnutrition prevalence by allowing humans to grow more food with less. When misused, however, they become environmental pollutants. Any proposed increase in fertilizer use should acknowledge the damage caused by their overapplication. Similarly, the effects of climate change on fertilizer pollution must be considered; the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall, will increase fertilizer run-off, further damaging ecosystems.

When used to increase animal food crop yields,fertilizers are also linked to the global impact of intensive animal agriculture. Livestock are responsible for roughly one-third of the global methane emissions linked to human activity. Even if all emissions from fossil fuels were discounted, the existing high-protein food system would still produce enough emissions to ensure global warming exceeds 1.5°C.

By indirectly supporting intensive animal agriculture in the Global North, the EU’s fertilizer communication ignores a host of interconnected issues, including animal welfare concerns, biodiversity and ecosystem loss, and public health challenges. Against the backdrop of climate change, our food systems require more innovative, cross-sectoral transformation than quick-fix solutions like making fertilizers more accessible.   

Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse, MSc


Real climate action means changing the systems we currently have, including food production, energy, and even healthcare. That change doesn’t have to mean sacrifice. Nearly every systems change will bring multiple social and ecological benefits beyond a stable climate. Like all worthwhile things in life, these changes require an investment of time and money, and the results will be well worthwhile. That just leaves the question – what are we waiting for?

Want to chat more with Lindsay, Megan, or Laura? We’d love to hear from you – connect and let’s chat!  

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Scriptoria Solutions policy brief expert Isabelle Le Marois shares her top tips on writing a convincing policy brief.

10 tips for a convincing policy brief

Communicating your research findings to an audience who is informed, but not expert, in your field is essential to ensuring your work has impact. But how? Our policy brief expert Isabelle Le Marois shares her top tips for communicating with an audience with loads of decision-making power: policymakers.

In brief:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Follow the usual structure
  3. Keep it short 
  4. Stay concise and focused 
  5. Describe the urgency of the issue
  6. Provide sufficient background
  7. Include statistics to support your argument
  8. Avoid jargon that can confuse the audience
  9. Include visuals such as charts and graphs
  10. Check your policy brief

Policy Briefs are key tools to present research and recommendations to a non-expert audience with big decision-making power. They serve as a vehicle for providing evidence-based policy advice to help regulators  make informed decisions. A strong policy brief distills research findings in plain language, draws clear links to policy initiatives, and provides guidance for taking policy action.

Here, Isabelle shares her top tips for drafting a policy brief that can drive systemic change.

1. Understand your audience

Before creating your policy brief, understand your audience. The more you know about the people who will be reading your brief, the more you can ensure your message is targeted appropriately. Level of government, department, historical policy decisions, affiliations, personal interests, and political platforms are all helpful context when considering what points will create a persuasive argument.

2. Follow this structure

There’s no one-size-fits-all; each policy brief will be unique based on the  subject and target audience. However, effective policy briefs tend to contain these key elements: an executive summary, an introduction of the key issues, an overview of the research, a discussion of the findings, and a conclusion highlighting implications of the research and policy recommendations.

3. Keep it short

Policymakers are in-demand folks who are unlikely to read a 20-page document  on a policy problem. Your entire policy brief should be  650-1300 words (2-4 pages) and never exceed 3000 words -(8 pages). 

4. Stay focused 

To provide a comprehensive but targeted argument in just a few pages, the focus of the brief must be limited to a particular problem or area of a problem. All aspects of the policy brief (from the message to the layout) must be strategically focused on achieving the intended goal of persuading your policymaker(s) of interest. Think carefully about the one action you’d like them to take, and cut out anything that isn’t crucial to achieving that goal. If needed, create multiple policy briefs instead of one long one.

5. Describe the urgency of the issue

Policymakers have many issues to consider and address. Include a few sentences discussing urgency, making clear why they should be paying attention to this particular problem and the potential ramifications of inaction. Support your claims with solid facts, not emotion-driven rhetoric.

6. Provide sufficient background

Don’t assume your audience will already have all the background information on this issue. Summarize the relevant background that will put the issue into context and ensure your reader quickly grasps the history and full scope of the issue. Use your appendices and sources section to provide additional background information to avoid  disrupting the flow of the main text with information beyond what is necessary to grasp the concept.

7. Include statistics to support your argument

Backing up your argument with statistics is a non-negotiable for policy briefing. Choose stats that pack a punch and consider presenting them in a visual way that makes them intuitive and surprising. However, don’t drown your brief with too many numbers. Select the statistics that most support your recommendations and have the greatest impact.

8. Avoid jargon that can confuse the audience

Consider how the terms you use will be received by someone outside your industry. Jargon and acronyms that feel easy to you are likely entirely new words for your reader. The more words and acronyms they have to learn to understand your message, the less likely it is that they’ll feel convinced or excited by your work.

9. Include visual such as charts and graphs

Eye-catching, engaging visuals can illustrate your point and back up your data in an appealing way. Ensure your visuals are carefully designed  and align with your message.

10. Check your policy brief

Once it’s been drafted, consider the policy brief’s purpose, audience, content, and structure once more. Revise the brief to make it as user-friendly as possible. Ask a colleague with no prior knowledge of the issue to read the brief and provide feedback. What points do they draw from it? Do these match your intentions? Will your brief help you achieve your goals? 

How can we help you? 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize the impact of your work, follow us on LinkedIn or send us a message. We’d be happy to give you some feedback and ideas!

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Scriptoria Solutions helped Green River spread the word on the PEEWV, an exciting new project using AI solutions to address unemployment.

Lady Liberty goes AI: A pathway to meaningful employment for immigrants in Vermont

We’ve been working with Green River a lot lately and we love how they’re using the power of software for good. Most recently they reached out for support in spreading the word on an exciting new project; the ‘Pathway to Employment for Every Working Vermonter’ (or PEEWV for short). The project has the potential to revolutionize how jobseekers find employment using AI solutions. Keep reading to learn more! 

While the US economy suffers from labor shortages, millions of immigrants are eager to work.

Over the past decade, the number of people forced to flee their homes has steadily increased and now stands at the highest level since records began. At the end of 2021, those displaced by war, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses stood at 89.3 million, more than double the figure of 10 years prior. At this rate, over one billion people are at risk of being displaced by 2050. 

Refugees escaping war, natural disasters, and persecution typically seek nothing more than stable work and a safe home for their families. Large countries such as the United States, with myriad unfulfilled job opportunities, typically welcome such enthusiastic workers with tailored employment solutions, enhanced job opportunities, and collective long-term planning programs. Historically, the United States has been a leader in refugee admission. Refugees have become a crucial component of the American job market, notably occupying challenging positions in sectors such as agriculture and construction that otherwise remained unfilled.

Despite refugees and immigrants’ valuable potential to contribute to the US economy, some states have recently shipped eager-to-work immigrants out of state in protest of national refugee admission policies. In sharp contrast to this is the state of Vermont, which offers an alternative response to the arrival of new immigrants looking for work. 

Senator Leahy of Vermont, a longtime supporter of workforce development, has secured US$ 1 million in funding from the United States Senate to launch an innovative new program that matches unemployed individuals—immigrants, refugees, and longtime Vermonters alike—with employers who are struggling to fill positions. The Pathway to Employment for Every Working Vermonter (PEEWV) project will begin with a two-year pilot collaborative led by Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), Green River, and SkillLab.

The BDCC and Green River have a long-standing partnership leveraging the green economy for economic development in Vermont. The BDCC is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont. 

Green River is a Brattleboro software development company with two decades of experience deploying software solutions for public health, workers’ rights, accessible housing and shelter, environmental protection, and other social justice issues. Now, the BDCC and Green River are joining forces with SkillLab, an impact business from Amsterdam that uses career-guidance technology to address the challenges of labor market transitions. Bringing SkillLab’s mobile-based artificial intelligence algorithm to Vermont stands to revolutionize the way job seekers convey their skills, explore careers, and apply for jobs.

Harnessing the power of AI to boost meaningful, long-term employment

Southeastern Vermont’s rural setting presents unique employment challenges. Newcomers and longtime residents alike face underemployment and difficulty establishing a stable career. Meanwhile, businesses struggle to identify and connect with the right talent. Existing approaches have been unable to resolve this challenge. 

The PEEWV takes a different approach by locally customizing and deploying SkillLab’s award-winning technology: skill profiling and career guidance that empowers every Vermonter. By recognizing people’s skills and prior learning and providing access to career guidance, the project creates pathways to employment that encourage skill-building and participation in vocational or adult education. 

The United Nation’s AI research center recognized SkillLab’s technology as one of ten outstanding uses of AI for social good, and Green River will support adoption in the Vermont context. The PEEWV focuses specifically on serving both foreign-born and under-served Vermonters by helping them find meaningful long-term employment — work in which they are satisfied and happy to stay.

Uniquely, the PEEWV’s software application focuses on skills—not job titles or educational degrees—using a jargon-free interface available in 28 languages. By expressing their past experiences in the language of skills, Vermonters document their prior learning and create their individual skill profile. This profile allows jobseekers to explore different careers, access vacancies, identify career goals, uncover skill gaps and find the adult education options that would best prepare them for their desired career. PEEWV will work with local education providers to include them in the project and catalog their courses. This enables the recommendation of specific courses to help Vermonters to close the skill gap for the job they want.

This application can also potentially boost small employers’ generally low human-resource capacity by creating easy access to talent and capacity development. Taken to the next level, this application would enable labor market change predictions, identification of positions that will soon be available, and preparation of candidates for those opportunities via training. The result: predictive synergies across stakeholders to meet both present and future labor market needs for both employers and employees.

In general, PEEWV seeks to create and retain a flourishing business community that supports vibrant fiscal activity and improves the quality of life of all people, including immigrants and  refugees, by improving long-term skill, wage, and career growth outcomes. Crucially, these are the primary determinants of poverty and household income.

Changing labor market norms across the eastern United States and beyond

Although they are just getting started in Southeastern Vermont, PEEWV is already aiming to change the current labor market norms statewide and beyond, especially in rural areas where people lack employment opportunities. Such expansion could help bridge the existing gap between the highly competitive urban tech-economy and rural areas that simultaneously face low wages, underemployment, and increasingly acute labor shortages. 

Green River also envisions the PEEWV technology synergistically building on their long-standing work in homelessness through an integrated platform that, in addition to informing individuals of their housing application status, helps them find meaningful and lasting employment. Such information integration across public services in the United States, where there is currently no coordination between justice, employment, housing, and urban development services, could be a true game-changer. Given that employment and housing are some of the primary social determinants of mental health and individual well-being, coordinated entry, care, and service delivery across these essential components of well-being would support improved advocate decision-making. Ultimately, this means better outcomes for the beneficiaries of these systems and the larger society to which they belong. 

To learn more about the PEEWV project or get involved, visit Green River’s website.  

You can also find out more about how Scriptoria Solutions can help get your work out into the world by contacting us.

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Scriptoria Solutions head copyeditor Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse shares her top tips on writing for a global audience.

Expert copyeditor shares her top tips on writing for a global audience

In brief: writing for a global audience

  1. Watch out for multiple meanings 
  2. Use active voice 
  3. Keep it simple 

Learning a new language is tough, and studying in it can be even harder. You can help your work reach even further by writing for a global audience. But how? Here are three ways our head copyeditor Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse, Msc ensures you’re writing doesn’t confuse non-native English speakers.

All languages have their quirks, and English is no exception. For a native speaker, our word choices can be automatic, and we aren’t always aware of how we can accidentally make a sentence unnecessarily confusing.  However, when you need your work to be easily understood by a non-native speaker, this can cause problems. Your audience might be reading in their second (or more!) language, which makes writing for a global audience a crucial part of our copy editing work at Scriptoria Solutions.

1. Watch for multiple meanings

Many words have multiple meanings, and how a native speaker uses them might not be how people interpret them. For example, ‘concerning’ can mean both ‘worrying’ and ‘about’. Many words have even more meanings: ‘application’ can refer to ‘job application’, or ‘applying a coat of varnish’, or the ‘Twitter application’ (aka app).  While avoiding words with multiple meanings is not always possible, it’s good practice to consider them and how you might make things simpler for a non-native English-speaking audience.

2. Use active voice

Active voice is language in which the grammatical subject of the sentence is the person or thing performing the action. Passive voice is the language in which the grammatical subject of the sentence is the person or thing being acted upon. That might sound tricky to understand, but native speakers can often switch between the two without really thinking about it. Here’s an example to help you out: 

Active voice: The program reduced the number of at-risk households.

Passive voice: The number of at-risk households was reduced by the program.

As well as being more engaging overall, the simplified active voice sentences help non-native English speakers understand the meaning better. The passive voice can be useful if we don’t know WHO/WHAT is responsible for doing the action, e.g., the poverty level must be reduced (but who is going to reduce it?). Generally speaking, though, we should aim for an active voice. 

3. Keep it simple

Sometimes there’s the temptation to add more ‘advanced’ vocabulary to a document, but we should consider whether that will add value or make things harder for a global audience. For example, to keep things simple, consider using:

  • ‘Start’ or ‘begin’ instead of ‘commence’ 
  • ‘So’ instead of ‘consequently’ 
  • ‘Use’ instead of ‘utilize’ or ‘leverage’  

 Using advanced vocabulary can confuse readers, so start using simpler language rather than consequently, commencing utilizing uncomplicated language. As we mentioned in our article on the science behind copyediting, overly wordy text like this can make readers work harder but retain less information. Add reading in a non-native language to the mix, and the risk of alienating readers could rise further.

Find out how we can help you write for a global audience  

Here at Scriptoria Solutions, we have a team of dedicated writers and copyeditors who are well-practiced in targeting a global audience, cutting through the jargon to ensure your audience understands your work. Get in touch today to see how we can help you maximize your global reach.

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Scriptoria Solutions founder Megan Mayzelle talks entrepreneurial activism with Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

Entrepreneurial activism with Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast

Scriptoria Solutions was selected to be featured on the 19 October 2022 episode of Women Entrepreneurs Radio! The episode is a quick 27 minutes and is packed with our history and approach to entrepreneurial activism. You can listen to the episode here

The podcast has been running for an amazing 14 years– since 2008! In that time, host Deborah A Bailey has spoken with more than 400 entrepreneurs about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. In this latest episode, Megan Mayzelle spoke about the power of entrepreneurial activism, and how sustainability is embedded into the founding of the company, both through the clients we support and how we support our own team.

“Entrepreneurship is the greatest form of activism we have.” 

– Danny Kennedy

Scriptoria Solutions works exclusively with social and environmental justice professionals, ranging from international organizations like the United Nations to budding startups. Notably, the Carbon Business Council and Green River received special shoutouts in this episode.  

In addition to supporting the work of sustainability innovators, we also embody sustainability activism in our company functioning.

Here are 6 surprising ways the Scriptoria Solutions team achieves entrepreneurial activism on all levels:

1.      Sustained health

Self-renewal is critical to consistently delivering gold-standard work to our clients. Every team member is free to work during her personal productive hours, live where she wishes, ask for help, and say no to more work. 

2.      Shared wealth

No matter how far up our sliding scale a client may go, the team members doing the work are guaranteed 50% of the total payment – that’s in contrast to the industry standard of about 30%.

3.      Tiny footprints

Our fully remote and electronic team means that we have a tiny carbon footprint. Even our savings account is invested in organizations working with social and environmental justice.

4.      Living proof

Every team member is encouraged to pursue her own areas of passion and advance her career using our team resources.

5.      Work on equality

Environmental and social issues are intrinsically connected – that’s why we support initiatives across all realms of social and environmental justice.  

6.      Work on climate

We all rely on a life-sustaining climate; without it, there’s nothing left to save. We have a special focus on supporting climate action professionals. 

Learn more about our entrepreneurial activism

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Megan’s recent LinkedIn video series on Scriptoria Solutions’ approach to entrepreneurial activism. You can also learn more on our brand-new sustainability web page. Don’t hesitate to send us a message to hear more about how we support the work of social and environmental justice professionals like you!

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Images displays work of a data visualization consultant
Data Visualization

The 5 things a data visualization consultant will bring to your work.

The benefits of data visuals in brief:

  1. They connect us to our audience 
  2. They bring data to life 
  3. They make it easy for you 
  4. They are straight to the point 
  5. They are plenty 

Great data visuals are powerful tools – they deliver complex information in highly accessible and digestible packages, and they make room for diverse audiences to engage with their content. They not only offer us a cool mental picture of how our data flows and is distributed, but also magnify the gaps that we so often search for in scientific research. If you’re struggling to get your point across to the folks who need to hear it, a great data visual might be just the thing you need. Our data visualization consultant shares 5 things she loves about great data visuals:

1. They connect us to our audience

Great data visuals convey the right information to both primary and secondary target audiences, but they also share information in ways that connect to what people care about, be that their origins, age group, or opportunities. This was highlighted throughout the recent pandemic when innovative and interactive visuals were crucial to disease surveillance and public health action. 

Data visuals that connect your message to what your target audience cares about can engage the right stakeholders and influence their decisions.  

2. They bring the data to life

With recent technological advances and major shifts towards the metaverse, the bounds of data visualization possibilities are expanding past our imagination and into machine-learning territory. Us data enthusiasts are excited for what’s coming! As more and more advanced data visualization tools are created and made accessible to all, effective communication of evidence is increasingly possible at all levels of knowledge and expertise. 

Great data visualization techniques show real-time data dynamics; they can display fluid transitions to reflect live changes in the data, or present multiple aspects of the data in additional dimensions, all while remaining accessible and digestible. Visuals that give audiences a real sense for the data in terms of its shape and/or dynamics are the best choice to display complex relationships. They can also help identify gaps or shifts in certain correlations that may highlight new concepts or correct established ones.

3. They make it easy for you

Great data visualization allows you to communicate key aspects of the information detailed in written text while also providing all the additional pieces of information you (and often peer reviewers) might need to interpret the results. 

If you’re spinning your wheels trying to digest your results table or graph, chances are it is not very accessible for others either. Try throwing in some color gradients instead of numbers to highlight spectrums and scales, and break up your visual into smaller pieces.

Note: Due diligence requires ensuring that the data visuals you are creating have no red flags. These include distorted or disproportionate axis scales and inconsistent intervals. 

4. They are straight to the point

Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.

—Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Great data visuals don’t feel confusing; they focus on displaying one defined aspect or intersection of the data and leave the reader confident that they’ve gathered all there was to learn. When in doubt, opt for the simplest way to present data. Your first step should be to define what you want to do with your data. For instance, you could choose to:

  • Describe its general distribution
  • Break a characteristic down into smaller parts (proportions, categories, locations, etc.)
  • Show the direction or attributes of a relationship 
  • Predict future trends 

Once decided, keep this in mind as it should be the main aspect you want your visual to reflect. If you find yourself needing to show more aspects of your data to paint a full picture, consider creating additional visuals and presenting them together in a grid.

5. They are plenty

Data visuals are creative ways of driving concepts.  Just like our imagination, there is almost no limit to the variety of data visuals available.  That’s why there is always a great visual fit for your data– it’s just a question of how you want to use it. 

Whether you want to describe qualitative, quantitative, or spatial data; summarize information; or visualize concepts, strategies, compound information, or metaphors; there is a data visual for every occasion. Check out Visual Literacy’s Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for some inspiration


Communicating your data in an easily digestible way is an essential part of the research process. Without it, all of your hard work could go to waste! Well-considered data visuals can connect you to the people that matter, whether that be engaging stakeholders or influencing decision-makers. There’s a wealth of data visualization methods out there, so there’s bound to be the perfect data visual for your work. 

Want to work with a data visualization consultant?  

Ready to hear how data visualization can revolutionize your work? Get in touch with Katiana, own amazing data visualization consultant!

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Scriptoria's grant writing expert gives her top 8 tips on how to write a grant budget that wins over funders and paves your way to success.
Grant Writing

How to write a grant budget you won’t regret

Isabelle’s 8 Tips for how to write a grant budget:  

  1. Read all the grand budget rules 
  2.  Design for success, not low cost
  3. Be thorough 
  4. If you don’t have a budget template, make sure to develop your own detailed version  
  5. Include matching 
  6.  Account for ‘overhead’ or indirect costs 
  7.  Finalize with a budget narrative
  8. Understand the donor’s perspective

When applying for competitive grant funding, figuring out how to write a grant budget is a small but crucial part of the process. A grant budget includes all the costs associated with carrying out the grant project or program. With many organizations competing for funding, a grant budget proposal is one of the more objective components of your application – it consists of hard numbers that funders can verify if necessary and it’s an important document to refer to if you receive funding. Previously, our in-house grant writing expert Isabelle Le Marois shared her top tips for a successful grant. Now, she’s put together 8 top tips on how to write a grant budget:

1.     Read all the grant budget rules

Be aware of what you are not allowed to spend on. A lot of grants do not allow spending on capital, infrastructure, advertising, and on salary and staff training. While grants don’t typically cover these expenses, donors still expect you to explain how you plan to cover them because they know that these elements are essential to your organization. As such, be sure to include them in your budget, and clearly indicate from what funding sources those costs will be covered.

2.     Design for success, not low cost

Avoid under-budgeting your costs. If it looks too good to be true, donors will be suspicious of your proposal, your understanding of the work, and your capacity to meet the goals that they have set forth.

3.     Be thorough

When considering how to write a grant budget, make sure to include a detailed breakdown. This includes:

  • Firstly, make sure to use any budget templates they have provided. 
  • Provide a description of how each expense is essential to the success of the project, particularly higher-priced items. 
  • Include plenty of subcategories – for example, rather than creating a single line for staff, list each individual position separately. 
  • Avoid round numbers (such as $100.00) They give the impression that you haven’t given much thought or research to the actual cost. 
  • If you are dealing with an expense that has fluctuating prices, you should budget for the upper end of the price spectrum. 
  • Budgeting for unclear potential expenses is accepted. However, you will need to offer examples, explain why they are unclear, and show how you’ve arrived at the budgeted estimate.  

4.     What if you don’t have a budget template?

Make annual budget sheets and a summary. Excel has a great tool for this. Your budget should contain:

  •  Salary and staff: list each salary and staff position individually, even if they are not going to be funded by the grant, and detail how that person is going to be funded. 
  • Domestic and international travel: provide separate totals for these two categories. 
  • Equipment and infrastructure: if they are known, list each one on a separate line with your best estimate of the cost. If there are possible unknowns, you can group them by purpose or activity. 
  • Events and training: this is often a point where applicants will overgeneralize and fail to provide a clear link to how it benefits the project. Put as much detail as possible here, with subcategories for venue, supplies, speakers, lodging, travel, advertising, and any other prominent costs. With events, expect unexpected costs and aim for the higher end of the potential cost.

5.     Include matching

Matching refers to any other resource that you bring to the table from outside the grant – from another grant or unrestricted funds, such as fundraisers, loans, or start-up funds. Donors love to see matching,  and most grants require a specific amount of it. In-kind matching, if allowed by the grant, is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you’re tapping into all the resources possible even if you are cash-limited.  In-kind matching is anything besides money that helps make the project a success. This includes equipment and supplies you already own that will be used in this project, any volunteer work hours, and even office space.  Estimate the cost of these items in your budget and clearly indicate that they will be matched, especially if these expenses are not covered in the grant you are applying for. For anything also used for other projects, such as office space, you’ll need to estimate what percentage of the item’s total use is by the project in question and apply this percentage to the total cost of the item to arrive at an estimated match amount.

6.     Account for ‘overhead’ or indirect costs

‘Overhead’ and ‘indirect’ costs are the same thing.  Project overhead accounts for all the indirect expenses that are associated with managing a project.  This means you cannot assert that they are for this project specifically, yet they support the project in important ways (administration fees, facilities, electricity, office supplies, etc.). 

Donors generally recognize the importance of indirect costs and allow a percentage of them to be added to the requested grant amount. If you’ve previously received funding for indirect expenses, then you can provide evidence of this and use the same rate. 

If you’ve not received indirect/overhead before, for example, if you are applying for a grant for the first time, you can calculate what percentage of your annual budget goes to general operating expenses and reference that.  You could also use USAID’s recommended minimum of 10%, but keep in mind that this percentage is generally extremely low.

7.     How to write a grant budget narrative

A budget narrative is a separate sheet from the budget template. Here, you want to carefully reference each item listed in the budget template and provide an explanation, in paragraph form, of the item, why it’s crucial to the success of the project, and how it will be sourced (grant funding or matching). Make sure you label the exact amount and use the exact wording used in the budget template so it’s easy to reference. If the expense is matching, justify how you’ve arrived at that monetary value. Do not forget to explain what percentage of the total project cost is going to be covered by matching funds.

8.     Understand the donor’s perspective

Donors want your project to be a great investment, so be sure to ask for enough on each line item to ensure that you’ll be able to complete the work, even if market prices flux. Keep in mind that the proposed budget is only meant to be an estimate of the funds needed, so it’s okay if there are changes after the award. However, be sure to discuss them with your donor. During the implementation phase, always receive your donor’s pre-approval for big expenses – generally ones that exceed $5,000 – even if they are described in the budget. Finally, large donors do not want money back and they will be watching your burn-rate, i.e., how much money you spend over time. The burn-rate is an indicator for donors of how much progress you are making toward the goals they have set for you.


Grant writing can be a challenging process, and investing time in creating a carefully considered budget can be an easy place to start. After listing out all the components of your project and their costs, you’ll have everything you need in mind to begin the grant narrative. You’ll also demonstrate to donors that you understand how to get the best results with the funds they provide.  

Need more help on writing a grant budget?

Scriptoria Solutions has a dedicated grant-writing expert who knows the ins and outs of how to write a grant budget. Get in touch today to see how we can help you amplify your impact with amazing grant applications. You can also follow us on LinkedIn for more information on grant writing, copyediting, writeshopping, and more!

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Science shows the value of a professional copyeditor

The scientifically proven value of a professional copyeditor

In brief: how a professional copyeditor adds value

  • Science shows copyediting improves a reader’s perception of professionalism, writing quality, organization, and value.
  • Women-identifying readers in particular tend to evaluate a well-copyedited document more favorably.
  • Professionalism, structure, and grammatical perfection are the most important value-adds of copyediting in terms of reader perception.
  • This holds true for everything from manuscripts to grants.  

With an abundance of automatic spellcheckers on the market, many organizations may be tempted to opt out of hiring a professional copyeditor for their documents. Science says they’re making a big mistake.

Research has shown that the work of a professional copyeditor positively impacts readers’ perceptions of quality. A 2015 study found that copyediting positively influences how readers perceive the professionalism, writing quality, organization, and value of news articles (Vultee, 2015). Read on to learn from our very own Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse, Msc, to find out how you can leverage these findings to engage and persuade your readers.

Women prefer good copyediting

The study found that gender plays a strong role in the perceived value of a text – that is, how likely the reader is to pay for access to the piece. Identifying as a woman is a significant predictor of whether the reader sees an improvement in an article’s overall value after improvements from a professional copyeditor, making editing for this audience even more vital.  

The copyediting that will change your work 


Study participants who agreed with statements such as ‘this story sounds like it was written professionally’ or ‘this is the kind of story I expect from a serious news site’ tended to rate the value of the piece most highly.


Grammar also impacts how readers perceive documents. Appleman and Bolls (2011) demonstrated that grammatical errors increased the reading difficulty of documents, meaning readers needed more time and mental effort to understand the messages behind the text.

The errors also worsened readers’ retention of the material: participants recalled fewer facts from texts with grammatical errors than correct texts despite the fact that they had spent more time reading them. Such errors divert the brain’s energy to processing the mistakes, pulling focus away from the text’s main points. 

While such distracting errors make readers work harder to remember less of your message, the worst impact of grammar mistakes is on perceived credibility. Readers considered error-free texts more credible than those with mistakes. This effect is amplified for readers who are familiar with or value good grammar. Simply put, if your target audience frequently reads and values well-written documents, they’re going to notice small errors and evaluate your work less favorably.


Grammar and spelling are essential, but perfect grammar and spelling do not make a perfect document. Optimizing the structure and flow of a report or manuscript is equally important to it being well understood and valued by your audience. 

Even the most advanced spelling and grammar checkers can’t tackle structure. And while a human proofreader will limit themselves to fixing grammar and spelling errors, a good professional copyeditor will delve into the content and restructure it where needed, removing the repetitive or irrelevant parts and highlighting the most important aspects. This helps ensure that you get your points across clearly and logically. 

A professional copyeditor is important for everything from manuscripts to grants 

While the study looked specifically at written journalism, the positive effects of a professional copyeditor extend across media types. Many of the same variables can affect other written documents, ranging from manuscripts to technical reports. In grant writing, for example, errors and non-intuitive organization tend to impact the perceived value of the applicant’s work and, by extension, their chances of getting funded. 


You’ve worked long and hard on your document, and you’re nearly ready to send it out into the world. If you could do one more thing to help ensure your investment takes you places, would you do it? The work of a professional copyeditor can be the deciding factor as to whether your document serves your purposes or not.  This means not only full grammar and spell-check, but also careful consideration of the structure, flow, and voice of the text. Importantly, copyediting MUST be done by someone who has never read the text before. It’s simply impossible – even for a copyeditor – to copyedit their own work.

Ready for a professional copyeditor?

Thankfully, at Scriptoria Solutions, we have a team of dedicated copyeditors ready to help you go beyond the automated spellchecker. Get in touch today to see how a professional copyeditor can help you deliver fully optimized documents that will expand your organization’s funding potential, policy influence, reputation, and influence. 

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Scriptoria Solutions joins the Carbon Business Council as skilled climate mitigation copyeditors following their debut white paper.
Climate Change, Copyediting

Carbon Business Council recognizes Scriptoria Solutions as recommended climate mitigation copyeditors!

We love using our skills as climate mitigation copyeditors to help get your work out into the world. That’s why we couldn’t be prouder to see the Carbon Business Council’s debut white paper released at Climate Week NYC 2022! 

The context

As reported here, the Carbon Business Council advocates for early-stage companies focused on removing, utilizing, and managing carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide removal is an important part of the climate mitigation puzzle for industries with unavoidable or legacy emissions. Voluntary carbon markets, working with carbon dioxide removal, allow the private sector to offset these challenging emissions.

The Carbon Business Council’s white paper outlines exactly how policies and markets can best support this process, with recommendations for ensuring scientific validity, accountability, and accuracy. The white paper is now publicly available — you can download it here.

How we helped

As experienced climate mitigation copyeditors, Scriptoria Solutions was a great fit for supporting the finalization of the Carbon Business Council’s debut white paper. Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse, MSc and Megan Mayzelle helped the Carbon Business Council team put the finishing touches on their white paper with an eye toward both legal accuracy and broad public accessibility.

Even better news

As part of this fruitful collaboration, Scriptoria Solutions is now also an official Ally of the Carbon Business Council. That means the Council recommends Scriptoria Solutions as expert climate mitigation copyeditors, ready to help council member organizations produce stellar policy notes, grant applications, press releases, and more. That aligns perfectly with Scriptoria Solutions’ goal to get funders, top talent, and policymakers excited about the big changes happening in climate change mitigation!

Ready for some climate mitigation copyeditors in your life?

Do you have a big, scary document that you’d love to get off your desk? Let’s see how we can help — shoot us a line to get the conversation started.

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A manuscript writer reveals her secret sauce for high-impact intellectual responsibility.

A manuscript writer reveals her secret sauce for taking research from ho-hum to high-impact

In brief: top tips for high-impact intellectual responsibility from a professional manuscript writer

  • Know your literature battlefield — all of it.
  • Be authentically curious about all perspectives.
  • Communicate your findings strategically.
  • Embrace verbal data, even as a quantitative researcher.
  • Don’t underestimate a good table.

Deep dive: everything you need to know

In addition to my own research in public health and epidemiology, I also work as a manuscript writer and writeshop facilitator with many of our most data-focused clients. As we grow as a research community, a poignant reality is setting in: just like in any other field, people have all kinds of motivations for conducting research, not least of them getting published. The publish or perish culture is yet another binary way to present what is really a spectrum of decisions that we, as researchers, can make about how we want to do work. As a manuscript writer, I have seen just about all of them.

A huge amount of intellectual responsibility should go into research practice. One of the most non-intuitive ways I’ve discovered for leveraging intellectual responsibility to take your research impacts to the next level is to embrace the human side of things. Here’s a few ways I practice that in my research.

Know your literature battlefield – all of it

Exploring as much as possible of the literature relevant to your research is a great way to familiarize yourself with your research backyard. A thorough review process is the intellectually responsible thing to do. Further, it helps ensure that your research will serve a real purpose in the field. Finally, on a personal level, it can help ward off difficult feelings that are all too common in the research community: imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and analysis paralysis.

When investigating the literature for gaps and entry points, broaden your search beyond what is known and unknown about the issue of interest, to understand the collection of assumptions that forms the foundation of the research area. In a nutshell, learn the different premises, their rebuttals, and potential alternative theories. This will help avoid reinventing the wheel, and also refine your personal perspective as you embark on the research journey.

Be authentically curious about all perspectives

Curiosity is a common trait that manifests differently in each of us. When collaborating with colleagues, you will notice that the questions they may have about an issue differ from your own, and that is okay. It allows you to cast a wider net on your and your team’s concerns. The best way to cover your bases is rooted in real curiosity and openness to the whole spectrum of opinions.

An equally important concept is to be tuned into what you are personally curious about. Beyond your affiliations, your research is a place where it should be okay for your personal experiences and interests to drive and inspire your inquisitiveness. Your intersectionality is a rich source of information and allows you to see multinationalism where other may not – use it to turn over rocks off-the-beaten-path!

Allowing your professional expertise to support your research is key to your credibility, and allowing your authenticity to shine through your research gives you a chance at pioneering an area in your field. That is how great progress is made in human history, and new schools of thought on how to improve human quality of life are imperative to development at all scales.

Support your findings strategically

The literature review process often thrusts you into the global conversation about your general research topic. It is easy to feel drowned out by all the voices that have had the floor before you, so remain pragmatic when it comes to making your point to the world. That usually means publishing novel findings via a manuscript! This is often the point at which our clients seek out the support of a manuscript writer.

While you might be inclined to cite multiple versions of the same basis for your research, consider selecting only two or three solid literary precedents to display your research entry point. You can and should aggregate all the possible iterations of why you should be doing the research that you chose in your research library. However, when communicating with the public, focus on sharing the messages that changed YOUR vision of why this research topic needed to be studied.

Scientific writing has the tendency to overcite similar findings from various sources. This often comes across as an attempt to prove how much basis one’s research has. A more effective approach may be acknowledging other points of views, demonstrating that you have considered each all of them, and what brought you to the conclusion that your current research was indeed a gap.

We do research and submit to peer review to get a credibility stamp on our professional accomplishments. That said, remember that you are an expert who feels objectively confident and convinced by your own methods. And what better way to establish this confidence than to look other possibilities in the face, and remain rooted in your intuition? A good manuscript writer will help you sort the wheat from the chaff in citing your sources.

Embrace verbal data, even as a quantitative researcher

How many of us remember our first research notebooks? We learn to document, document, document early on: take detailed but concise notes; record measures, outcomes, and errors as they occur; report your thought processes, especially the whys and the hows. The aim is not only to revisit, check, and reproduce our work, but also to account for the wild possibility that someone might win a Nobel Prize based on having the same idea before us (or stealing ours, if you work in a highly competitive space). Then, we’d pull out our notes history and get credit restored where it is due. For a lot of us, this approach led to lots of handwriting, a pile of old notebooks we are unlikely to ever (voluntarily) trash, and the questionable perspective that ideas have an inherent value, financial or otherwise.

So why would that same perspective not apply to the ideas we throw around in conversation? So much value is lost when verbal information remains uncaptured despite the fact that  verbal data are, by definition, more well-rounded than their quantitative counterparts. Granted, verbal data is not the most stackable or averageable form of information. However, particularly in fields aimed at affecting human life, they bring an essential human factor into our processes and conclusions. As Cecile J.W. Janssens, – an esteemed, recently departed research thought leader – beautifully taught her students: “A difference, to be a difference, has to make a difference”. By this definition, anything has the potential to be (or not be) a significant finding.

Researchers tend to err on the side of what is objective and measurable, what is neutral and middle-groundish. The truth is, just as there is no middle ground to truly understanding and empowering a single human’s perspective, we should not always seek one in understanding and affecting communities. While it may be easier to use Cartesian schools of thought as an excuse to escape the chaos of the human experience by burying ourselves in research, we in fact stand to advance further as researchers by embracing the human experience. I repeatedly find in writing manuscripts with clients that one of the greatest values I bring is helping them capture verbal data.

Don’t underestimate a good table

Really, don’t. Tables are one of the most efficient and most accessible ways to organize, connect, compare, assess, and appreciate information – all in one fell swoop.

Many researchers rapidly descend the heady rabbit holes of their expertise, and get excited about very dense, complicated visuals and text. Don’t get me wrong, as a data enthusiast myself, I understand all too well the excitement one feels in the face of all the possibilities that a clean and robust dataset promises – the power to shape a literal [data] cloud!

That said, there is another level of realness that we unlock when we can take these complicated relationships and ideas we study and break them down in the most basic moving and connecting parts of a concept. Nature does it on a molecular basis, and it is in our nature to understand things better that way. Plus, the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) method hardly ever fails, and tables are as kissable as [insert your favorite thing to kiss].

In summary: great manuscripts begin and end with the human

The notion of intellectual responsibility is often closely correlated with removing the ‘human’ – the most frequent source of error — from our work. At the same time, our humanness can also be a mechanism for fully realizing our intellectual responsibility: embracing our own human curiosity and intellect, considering the human psychology of our audience in building our case and presenting our findings, and even leveraging the ancient human art of storytelling as a valuable data resource gives us the opportunity to take our work to the next level.

Ready for more tips from a manuscript writer?

Follow Scriptoria Solutions on LinkedIn to catch Katiana‘s series on data visualization and research methods, and be sure to check out her amazing mental health resources here!

Ready to see how much work a manuscript writer can take off your desk? Contact us to chat about how we can make your day better all week long.

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Grant writing consultant shares top tips for a successful grant application.
Grant Writing

Grant writing consultant shares top tips for a successful grant

Looking for boost your organization’s bank account? You won’t want to miss Scriptoria Solution’s resident grant writing consultant Isabelle Le Marois‘ top tips for grant application success.

Want more info? Follow Scriptoria Solutions on LinkedIn to Isabelle’s upcoming series on creating great grant applications.

In brief: top ten tips for success from a grant writing consultant

  • Build a strong network.
  • Describe your project in writing.
  • Monitor opportunities.
  • Consider small donors’ location.
  • Consider sub-grants.
  • Do you qualify?
  • Take your time writing.
  • Follow guidance closely.
  • Work with a grant writer
  • Submit days before the deadline

Are grants right for you?

grant is funding awarded by a public body, charitable foundation, or a specialized grant- making institution to an individual or entity for a purpose linked to public benefit. A successful grant is always supported by a strong grant proposal – a very clear, direct document written with the purpose of persuading the donors to provide you with support because:

1- you have an important and fully considered plan to advance a valuable cause, and

2- you are responsible and capable of realizing that plan.

However, securing grant funding is far more complex than simply writing a compelling grant proposal. With that in mind, here’s Isabelle’s top ten tips on grant writing success!

Build a strong network.

Before doing anything else, new organizations should connect with well-established organizations in your sector to make a great impression. That means requesting informational interviews, attending conferences, and joining online communities to think about how your organizations can support each other. Many organizations don’t network because it doesn’t feel urgent, there are no tangible outputs, and staff are already busy with ongoing projects. However, a strong network will become your greatest dividend-yielding asset — including building awareness of your work among grant donors.

Describe your project in writing.

Why spend time on a project plan? It’s very likely you’ve never clearly explained every detail of your project to someone else in writing. Clearly articulate in writing your project process, your proven methodologies, your strengths and weaknesses, your action itemsand their importance, and what resources you need to be successful. Most importantly, this will help you clarify for yourself the areas where your project brings the greatest value; in turn, that will help you choose which grants to apply for. Later, that text will take you more than halfway to completing the grant application itself.

Monitor opportunities.

Most grants recur annually. For example, USAID announces their Annual Program Statements (APS) and their BusinessForecast one year in advance. Search online for grants in your space, get on mailing lists, and keep a calendar of important dates.

Consider smaller donors’ location.

Small donors such as funds, foundations, and centers typically prefer awarding grants to small organizations. These small donors rely on trust in your organization, and it’s important for them to be able to claim tax exemptions for their contributions in their base country. Their grant amounts are also much less, so aim for donors in your base country, or carefully consider the costs of gaining the appropriate tax status in the donor’s base country.

Consider sub-grants.

Small organizations are highly unlikely to win grants directly from large donors like USAID, UKAID, or World Bank. What’s more, these organizations’ applications are extremely time-consuming, rigorous, and competitive. Instead, these large donors typically give grants to implementing partners, such as multinational organizations, the corporate social responsibility arm of large companies, and universities. In turn, these implementing partners often give sub-grants they are much easier to access. Monitor large donors’ websites to learn about their implementing partners so that you can track down these subgrant opportunities.

Do you qualify?            

The grant announcement will generally contain a description of successful applicants. You must provide strong evidence that you fully meet every qualification. If not, it is probably not worth applying. In addition to these requirements, consider whether your organization is prepared for success. Do you have the staff, expertise, time, and infrastructure ready to conduct a project at the scale and timeline the donor specifies?

Take your time writing.                     

Once you’ve chosen a grant application to complete, start as far in advance as possible. Estimate the amount of time each portion of the process will need and double it. Take advantage of the extra time you’ve built in to set short deadlines for partners knowing that some will inevitably overrun them. Furthermore, take advantage of this time to schedule short writing periods for yourself throughout the week. Writing for an hour, stepping away, and coming back will give you more time to process the best approach for providing the solid evidence that you meet every qualification.

Follow the guidance closely. 

Closely follow the guidance provided by the donor and use any templates they provide. Try to ‘interpret’ your methodology through their lens so that they can see how you both align. Whenever possible, use similar language to the grant announcement rather than employing your own project terminology. Highlight key resources, such as a partner organization with outstanding expertise. Also highlight your challenges and explain how you are going to deal with them and what resources you need to do that.

Work with a grant writer.                 

A grant writer’s job is to ensure you are addressing every single point in your grant proposal to your greatest ability. Grant writers are intimately familiar with the grant application process, so they bring a strong understanding of best practices and ways to maximize your chances of success. In short, having a grant writer gives you a higher chance of funding success and saves your teams’ time and energy for other work. That said, grant writers must legally be paid out of your organization’s funding – you can’t use the grant funds to pay the grant writer, nor pay them based on commission.

Submit days before the deadline.

Donors, and particularly small donors and implementing partners, will often start reviewing applications as soon as they are submitted. If they like your work overall, they may reach out to you with questions or items you have overlooked. While this isn’t guaranteed, it is far more likely to happen if you submit several days in advance rather than a midnight on the due date.

Ready for more?

Like what you’re reading? Great news — here’s a downloadable PDF so you can keep these tips handy for your next grant application. Score!

Want more info? Follow Scriptoria Solutions for more amazing advice on grant writing, copyediting, data visualization, writeshopping, and more! You can also register to hear from us once a month — no advertising, just great news about grant writers making the world a better place.

Ready to get some help with your grant? We’d love to take that off your desk — drop us a line to get started.

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Technical copywriter shares top ten tips for editing

Technical Copywriter Shares Top 10 Tips for Great Editing

In brief: the top tips of a technical copywriter

  • Check your style.
  • Be consistent.
  • Learn to triage.
  • Know your authors’ needs.
  • Align the voices.
  • Read it again.
  • Practice diplomacy.
  • Employ rephrasing.
  • Check the references.
  • Don’t forget formatting.

What makes a great technical copywriter?

A technical copywriter or copyeditor focuses on preparing complex scientific and technical information for publication. Oftentimes this includes reports, policy briefs, and academic manuscripts destined for global publication, landing on desks in the world’s most influential organizations and informing governmental and scientific thinking.

While some requirements of general writing and editing also apply to technical work, the stakes are usually much higher for technical copywriters and copyeditors, and the information is more challenging to convey in a way that captures the audience’s attention.

That means that in addition to great persuasive skills and immaculate writing technique, a technical copywriter must also have the ability to quickly grasp complex theory, data, and jargon. Here at Scriptoria Solutions, we are all Mastresses of Technical Copywriting!

With that in mind, read on as technical copywriter Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse shares her top ten tips for improving your technical editing.

Check your style.

Clients prefer different writing and citation styles, whether you’re copyediting for an organization or a journal. Points like whether to hyphenate certain words, use British or American spelling and punctuation conventions, write out numbers in full, or use numerical or author/date citations should all be determined before starting, to optimize the editing time. Some organizations, such as the World Bank, will even have their own style guide to ensure the finished document aligns with their organizational needs. If the client is unsure or doesn’t have preferences, offer them some suggestions based on their target audience. Language standards (e.g., British or American) are the most difficult to correct later.

Be consistent.

Professionally written and edited documents should be consistent throughout in terms of capitalization, punctuation, currencies, use of measurements, etc. For example, while some authors write ‘%’ and others’ percent’ or even ‘per cent’, your document should never use these interchangeably. Pick the most appropriate—that may often be the one most commonly used or the one specified in the style guide—and use it throughout the document. Use the ‘replace’ function in Word to edit unwanted variants quickly.

Learn to triage.

Technical copywriters and copyeditors are perfectionist by nature. That said, when a client’s budget, timeframe, or document length dictates the level of editing possible, a skilled copyeditor can quickly assess and ‘triage’ the document, picking out the most important opportunities to gain big wins. For example, when time is short, combing the document for a misplaced semi-colon will have far less impact than chopping down repetitive paragraphs and improving the overall content.

Know your authors’ needs.

Each organization or publication has its own requirements and preferred way of working. While some welcome queries and have the time to consider feedback, others require a product as close to finalized as possible, with few comments to address. It’s essential to determine the clients’ expectations, be flexible to their needs, and give them what they want.

Align the voices.

Documents are often a compilation of various authors’ work, potentially across organizations and institutions. As such, different sections may have distinct voices and writing styles. It’s important to align the voices throughout to ensure no one section stands out, particularly for being overly complex or simple compared to the rest of the document. Aligning voices makes the writing flow better and also avoids potentially embarrassing authors who may not have known the level of complexity required in their text.

Read it again.

Regardless of the document’s length, it should be read at least twice. The first pass through the document should be a fast, superficial edit that fixes the most problematic grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other glaring issues that make the text sloppy. The subsequent passes should be more meticulous, focusing on removing repetitive ideas and improving clarity and flow.

Practice diplomacy.

Consider the authors’ feelings when leaving comments, queries, or suggestions. It’s easy for authors to feel criticized when they receive a document back with many comments, particularly if that feedback is bluntly worded. Always be polite and diplomatic, and offer a suggestion based on your best guess, particularly if time is short. For example, The meaning of this sentence is a little unclear; do you mean XXX? If so, I suggest revising the text to XXXX.

Employ rephrasing.

Copyediting doesn’t stop at fixing grammar, spelling, and punctuation; the overall goal is to optimize the document based on the client’s requirements. It might be that a sentence needs fully rephrasing to convey the intended meaning. Don’t be afraid to rephrase sentences fully; after all, the client hires the copyeditor to deliver the best product possible, including making the text clear and concise. If you’re unsure whether the rephrasing could affect technical jargon or terminology, comment within the file to request that the author validate your changes. If two or three interpretations are possible, the comment box is a great place to offer alternatives that they can easily paste into the file.

Check the references.

A great technical copywriter or editor will always check that the in-text mentions and final references match. Having a source cited in the document’s text but missing from the bibliography/references, or vice versa is more common than you’d think in technical writing. This error often occurs when a dynamic citation manager, such as Zotero or Mendeley, isn’t being used or if the sources have become unlinked from the software.

Don’t forget formatting.

The visual formatting of a document is often crucial to its success. While a good-looking report can’t disguise lousy content, a visually jarring report—for example, one mixing various fonts, text sizes, and heading styles—can impact how readers receive it. Similarly, cluttered figures and tables can detract from good content. While the level of formatting required may vary, basic alignment of text styles should always be incorporated during editing, with improvements to figures and tables made where possible.

Want more?

We know you’ll be needing it, so here’s a downloadable PDF of this information to keep handy.

And if you’re hungry for more, head over to Scriptoria Solutions on LinkedIn to see our ongoing series on copyediting, grant writing, writeshopping, data visualization, and more, each authored by a professional technical copywriter.

Just want to stay in the loop? Sign up here to hear from us about once a month — no advertising, just great news about technical copywriters and editors making the world a better place.

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Scriptoria is developing a carbon co-benefits and co-hazards tool.
Climate Change

We’re joining the Climatebase Fellowship to develop a carbon co-benefits tool!

We are so excited to announce that Scriptoria Solutions‘ own Megan Mayzelle recently joined the second cohort of Climatebase Fellows to focus on the development and launch of Scriptoria Solutions’ socio-ecological responsibility tool for carbon management projects! The tool will focus on identifying and maximizing the co-benefits of carbon projects and understanding and minimizing the co-hazards.

Here’s a sneak peek information on the product and how it might help advance your next project:


Carbon management projects are well funded, have attracted talent from a variety of sectors, and are laser-focused on complying with impending regulation and delivering a product (carbon credits, reputational points) to corporate clients. They are very aware of the carbon-oriented benefits and hazards, but potential social and ecological co-benefits and co-hazards are often non-intuitive and may be overlooked.

There are massive benefits to identifying socio-ecological co-benefits and co-hazards as early as possible. A project that is able to identify additional benefits that it brings to the area beyond carbon reduction can amplify those to maximize the benefit that they bring to the natural space and/ or the communities, and employ that to broaden their funder base, to engage more diverse stakeholders, to increase their reputational potential. By identifying their co-hazards as early as they can, they’re able to minimize those, to offset them or mitigate them.

This is also extraordinarily important for potential funders or buyers of carbon management initiatives. By understanding the co-benefits and co-hazards of an initiative, they can more consciously select according to their organizational goals which co-benefits may be more important to them to support, and which hazards may be more important for them to avoid.


Our product will provide a visual overview of potential social and ecological co-benefits and co-hazards given some basic characteristics of the project, as well as some rule-of-thumb guidance for minimizing hazards and fully leveraging co-benefits. 

The primary focus of the product will be supporting the rapidly burgeoning carbon mitigation sector, but the product will be equally useful for any project focused on socioeconomic, ecological, or climate justice.

The output will be visually intuitive and compelling. In addition to informing project funders, planners, and implementors, it will serve as a fantastic addition to a pitch deck, project proposal, or other informative document.


The early-access version of the product will likely be a technology-enabled service. Later versions will iteratively employ learning from previous results and will available through a website, with an option to dive deeper into specific recommendations if the user so desires.


The co-benefits and co-hazards considered will employ current best-known practices such as the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, Sustainable Development Goals, and other robust multilateral organizational indices to account for the major categories of socioeconomic and ecological factors.

Want to stay in the loop on our carbon co-benefits and co-hazards tool? Follow us on LinkedIn to learn more, or sign up for our email newsletter to be the first in line for early access!

This article was originally published at Scriptorium on 22 August 2022.

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The inflation reduction act offers winds for everybody.
Climate Change, Policy

The USA begins its most ambitious climate action ever — and everybody wins.

Wow, we’re impressed.

Government legislation seems to be an endless story of tradeoffs: cutting funding here to ramp up there, increasing this tax to offset that deficit, ramping up spending to avoid recession….

The tired tradeoff saga is all the more familiar on environmental issues — most of us have an implied understanding that good environmental practices are moral obligations with a price tag, not an investment that will personally yield us dividends.

Maybe that’s why the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) feels like such a breath of fresh air.

The IRA was born out of the floundering Build Back Better Plan and, as of 12 August 2022, has passed both the House and the Senate despite round opposition from all Republicans. Once signed by President Biden it will become law.

In a striking departure from the frequent you-give-I-take vibe of much of politics, the IRA appears to be the kickoff of a virtuous cycle that will raise all boats. The proposal promises to reduce healthcare costs and energy bills across the nation AND reduce carbon emissions by about 40% by the end of the decade, among other wins. The work will be funded by closing two key tax loopholes currently leveraged by high-net worth corporations and individuals.

American households will see an average of US$1,800 in annual savings through the IRA, and the emissions reductions will represent a massive leap toward American and Paris Agreement commitments to achieving net-zero by 2030.

Money is an effective barrier to a lot of things, and the amount we have generally determines how much we stand to benefit from public initiatives. Most of us can still buy food and lodging even as prices rise. Massive wealth is an even more air-tight bubble that offers the best healthcare, personal security, and private infrastructure. But no amount of money can protect you from calamity in your biosphere.

As it turns out, the notion that environmental issues are sunk costs or mere moral obligation is dead wrong– on the contrary, a happy planet earth is perhaps the only thing that even the ultra-wealthy cannot create alone. And when we work together, literally everybody wins.

Originally published 15 August 2022 at Scriptorium.

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Here's how to get involved in the carbon business council.
Climate Change, Policy

How to get involved in the Carbon Business Council

In case you don’t already know, the Carbon Business Council (CO2BC) launched Tuesday July 19 to advocate for early-stage companies focused on removing, utilizing, and managing carbon dioxide. The council is gaining traction quickly, so if business solutions to carbon management are of interest to you, get involved in the Carbon Business Council now so you can be part of its amazing climb to the top.

CO2BC is a non-profit trade association that gives carbon startups a seat at the policy table. As of launch, they boast more than 40 founding members with combined assets of more than US$100 million.

This is an outstanding example of the public-private synergies we so often envision to effectively address climate change! You can see Scriptoria Solutions‘ Executive Director Megan Mayzelle talking about her key takeaways from CO2BC’s debut here.

 So how can you get involved in the Carbon Business Council?

 1. Watch the debut

View the recording of the 30-minute debut webinar from July 26 to catch up on upcoming initiatives in carbon management. 

 2. Spread the word

Help your colleagues stay in the know — share the link to the CO2BC website.

 3. Our personal favorite

We love CO2BC’s biweekly newsletter of bite-sized news for a gigaton industry. Tons of Economist vibes! 

This article was originally published 09 August 2022 in Scriptorium.

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international agricultural development and CDR professionals can combine powers for better outcomes.
Climate Change

International agricultural development and CDR must combine powers for socio-ecological responsibility

Carbon Dioxide Removal must be implemented at scale to avert the worst of climate change impacts.

This fact is now accepted by the majority of decision-makers at all levels globally, and drastic increases in governmental regulation is a near-certainty. Billions of dollars are pouring into carbon dioxide removal (CDR) initiatives, and many CDR projects are being implemented in developing economy countries. This holds massive implications for the work of the international agricultural development and CDR professionals alike. We must take our place at discussion table now to help ensure the massive potential co-risks and co-benefits of this colossal endeavor play out in favor of the frontline communities we aim to serve.

CDR is a future developing-economy industry.

CDR at the order of magnitude needed to move the needle will occupy significant land areas and require tough decisions on competing land uses like food production and biodiversity conservation. It will also likely produce large quantities of synthetic aggregates that could heavily inform local infrastructure landscapes.

We know that many existing agricultural practices are or will become untenable in some swaths of the world. We know that those communities will need to transition to other forms of sustainable livelihoods. We know these same rural communities are sorely in need of infrastructure development.

The integration of international agricultural development and CDR best practices is a huge opportunity to co-create the socioeconomic solutions we’ve been saying are needed for vulnerable frontline communities. We development professionals need to show up, engage with CDR implementors, and advocate for CDR approaches that minimize risks and maximize co-benefits.

International agricultural development is caught up in small-time climate mitigation.

One major global debate around carbon is which categories of our current global emissions should be prevented through a paradigm shift to low-carbon or decarbonized alternatives, and which should be accepted as inevitable and subsequently repaired via CDR. Yet even the most conservative evaluations agree that agricultural emissions should be considered hard-to-remove — that is, ethically and logistically better to repair through CDR than to prevent through low-carbon alternatives.

The mitigation co-benefits international agricultural development professionals frequently put forth, including soil and forest management optimization, have the shortest potential storage terms and are the most vulnerable to socioeconomic risks of re-release. And they must be done at massive scales to have any measurable impact on the gigatonnes of carbon dioxide that must be pulled from the atmosphere.

The livestock methane emissions we frequently decry as a major climate change issue, in fact, have such a short atmospheric lifetime (about 12 years, compared to carbon’s hundreds to thousands of years) that constant methane emissions result in a net zero impact on climate change on timescales of 12 years or more.

Rather than attempting to build a platform on the minuscule mitigation co-benefits of international agricultural development initiatives, we should be advocating for the vulnerable farmers we serve to be protected from decarbonization requirements, and to be central to integrated international agricultural development and CDR initiatives that will be inevitably happening in their countries.

International agricultural development and CDR experts together are uniquely prepared to realize huge co-benefits.

Many well-funded CDR solutions center on practices international agricultural development been endorsing for time immemorial, including the particularly promising biochar. Afforestation, reforestation, and soil sequestration CDR projects are sorely in need of individuals willing to confront the complexities of social and environmental justice surrounding their efforts. International agricultural development has already learned and embraced the absence of the silver bullet. We have much to offer to help improve the chances of CDR being a global success story for all.

This is international agricultural development’s chance to get in at the ground floor.

For the first time in our careers, there’s no lock-in to work around. No paradigm shift to catalyze. No distortionary policy to reverse. At least not yet.

CDR is advancing extraordinarily quickly, and it’s powered by some of the brightest minds of our generation. Folx are leaving behemoth organizations like Facebook and McKinsey to push the CDR movement forward. By definition this migration is almost entirely of individuals who care about the future of our planet and are open to learning. They are creating a space where international development voices will be heard and expertise welcome. But we can’t expect them to come to us.

So bring along you non-profit boot-strapping community-centered social-learning know-how and make CDR a global initiative truly co-designed for all.

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Public Health

A public health writer shares her personal mental health resources

public health writer

Mental health is an often overlooked aspect of public health

"As a public health writer, I strive to bring this component of health into all of my work."

- Katiana Bougouma

Scriptoria Solutions Public Health Writer

A quick rundown of mental health

Knowledge is having information. Wisdom is understanding how your mind uses that information. The idea of mental self-observation is commonly called self-awareness or meta-cognition.

Meta-cognition is the ability to observe yourself feeling emotions; observe yourself having thoughts; observe yourself holding beliefs; and also noticing which feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that are not in you at that moment.

Knowledge of accumulated and lost. Wisdom is honed and lasts forever.

Meta-cognition is the foundation of mental and emotional health. Happily, it is also an acquired skill that we practice and hone.

Our public health writer helps us practice great mental health

At Scriptoria Solutions, giving ourselves the space to respond to our self-observations with self-care and self-comfort is one of our core values.

To this end, our in-house MPH Katiana Bougouma has created a fantastic clickable Resilience Map , Emotional Well-Being Map, and Types of Coping Mechanisms Guide that we use every day. We hope they’ll serve you equally as well.

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. 

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copyediting checklist

Copyediting checklist

Even copyeditors can't copyedit their own work.

" Use this copyediting checklist to help a colleague who doesn't have the time or budget to hire a copyeditor."

- Lindsay Hartley-Backhouse

Lead Copyeditor at Scriptoria Solutions

Proofreading is not copyediting

Proofreading is often sold — particularly to people writing in their non-native language — as copyediting. But copyediting is so much more than spellcheck! In addition to absolute grammatical perfection, a copyeditor should be doing as much as they can to reinterpret what you meant to say with increased clarity in your words, and where they can’t, offering you options for resolving the issue yourself.

Before beginning the copyediting checklist

Before they begin, a great copyeditor will ask:

What is your target audience’s existing knowledge on the topic?

A very common target audience is the informed non-expert. This is an individual who is accustomed to learning and thinking critically, who has a broad understanding of the language in which the document is written, and who is not trained in the topic area at hand. For example, a summary of key climate research findings for policy makers is targeting an informed non-expert audience. They don’t necessarily know much about climate, and they don’t need a full explanation of how climate research is done. But with a brief explanation they can quickly grasp the context necessary to understand the key findings of the research.

Other audiences might be topical experts, whom you assume have a lot of foundational knowledge in the subject; students, whom you assume are interested in a primer on the subject; and practitioners, who want to know about the practical implications for them specifically without all the theoretical whys behind it.

How will your audience access your work?

Will this text ultimately be in a printed brochure? A web page? A paywall-protected journal article? This informs the best way to provide the reader easy access to resources, the visual aesthetic of the text, the most appropriate formatting and layout, and whether components like an acronym list, table of contents, and list of references would be effective.

Do you want feedback, or would you like to move as close to finalization as possible?

This will help the copyeditor decide how often they implement changes for your review versus providing you comments for thought.

The copyediting checklist

Next, a great copyeditor will put themselves in your audiences’ place and carefully read every word of your document, systematically considering the following copyediting checklist for each sentence:

  • RelevantDoes it add to the main point of the paragraph?
  • SpecificDoes the language clearly indicate to what the idea does and does not apply?
  • CompleteHas any information relevant to the topic been omitted?
  • ClearIs it easy for the target audience to understand given their knowledge set?
  • ConciseCan any words be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence?
  • BalancedAre relevant alternative scenarios and possibilities fairly acknowledged?
  • ConsistentIs information presented in a predictable and logical order, both within and across the document?
  • Voice – Is the same tone and manner of speech employed throughout?
  • ComparableAre comparable ideas explained in equitable levels of detail?
  • ReliableAre robust research methods and sources of information employed?
  • VerifiableAre claims clearly linked to reliable, discoverable sources? Are these sources cited in a way that intuitively works for the audience?
  • ObjectiveAre arguments based on robust logic? Are opinions, assumptions, logical fallacies, and perceptions systematically excluded?

Great copyeditors are gold

Once you’ve experienced great copyediting, you’ll never want to publish another word without their input. Notably, it’s nearly impossible to copyedit your own work well; even great copyeditors have a difficult time doing this.

Have limited time and/or budget? That’s when it’s particularly important to work with the very best copyeditors. It takes remarkable skill to select and prioritize the edits that will bring the greatest shine to your document while still ensuring consistency and distributing limited time evenly across the entire file. 

Haven’t experienced a great copyeditor yet? We think ours are the best, and they touch everything we do. Learn more about their work or send us a note to get started. 

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