Ban jargon, acronyms and philanthro-speak

To enlist and keep the supporters and partners your nonprofit needs to advance its cause, you need to be able to tell your story in a clear, concise and compelling way.

Yet far too many nonprofits bog down their story with the jargon, acronyms and technical language favored in their particular field of interest, by members of their board, and among grantmaking professionals who work for foundations and corporate giving programs.

Nonprofits do important work, and you do not need to use foggy vocabulary to make the case that your work deserves support.

So lose the techno-babble and philanthro-speak and keep it simple.

In everyday words your child, parent, significant other or best friend can understand, explain the need you address, the work you do and the difference you make in the lives of the people you serve.

If you want to raise awareness about community needs, and enlist support for your cause, use words that real people use.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

One response

  1. When someone uses jargon, I’m immediately suspicious that it’s being used to exclude. For greatest success, save the jargon for the peer conference setting, and tell your story with “heart” words.

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