Let the facts speak for themselves

Communication that is clear and simple is vital for charities to build the partnerships and support they need to improve life for the people and places they serve.

Yet far too many nonprofits and foundations get lost in a communications fog that confuses people, wastes time and resources, and diverts attention from finding solutions to community problems.

Charity professionals like to parrot the jargon, technical language and acronyms of philanthropy, the nonprofit world, and their particular field of interest, and of academia, business and government.

They use vague words and phrases that are philanthropically correct and sound important and upbeat but ultimately say little, if anything.

They produce website content, newsletters, annual reports, strategic plans, cases for support, marketing materials, news releases and other communications that are geared to insiders and professional peers, not to the audiences they need engage, including constituents, funders and other supporters and partners, and the public.

Instead of talking about social needs, the people they serve, the difference they make, how they work, how people can get involved, and why anyone should care, they talk about themselves — their vision, mission, “pillars,” “core values,” strategies, initiatives, leaders, internal processes, and operational minutiae.

They produce documents, often based on off-the-shelf templates, that are expensive, slick, and filled with high-sounding aspirations, clever catchphrases, boiler-plate background, mind-numbing data, and trendy graphics.

Steer clear of all that. Keep your communications crisp and focused on your cause and impact.

Stick to the facts and to what matters. Clarity counts, and less is more.

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 toddcohen49@gmail.com.

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