Make your message crystal clear

Thank you for stopping by my blog on May 9,  “Blog Jog Day”! The event helps visitors explore new blogs. When you’re finished here, jog on over to www.comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com. For a list of all the participating blogs, go to http://blogjogday.blogspot.com.


writing for nonprofits


It was my job to write a piece to introduce a new school psychologist to the  community and let people know what a great asset he would be. I interviewed him, wrote the article, and gave the psychologist a draft to review to make sure there were no mistakes.


When he was done “correcting” the draft, it was no longer warm and welcoming. In fact, it wasn’t even understandable. It was full of jargon and technical language. It was as clear as a glass of chocolate milk.


Why did he muck up the article?


“I don’t want my colleagues to think I don’t know what I’m talking about,” he explained. The intended audience was parents and community residents, but the psychologist  was worried about other psychologists.


He was aiming for the wrong audience.


By choosing technical language, he was offering his fellow psychologists greater depth and meaning. Unfortunately, those technical words carry no meaning at all for the rest of us.  Our intended audience would have been lost if we had used his draft.


Suppose you are hiking through a remote part of the world and encounter people who have never seen an airplane. They ask you to tell them what an airplane is, and you say simply that an airplane is a machine that can fly like a bird.


Another member of your group is an engineer who says you’ve got it all wrong. An airplane doesn’t fly like a bird. A bird propels itself by flapping its wings, but airplanes use engines to supply thrust. He launches into an explanation of Bernoulli’s Principle and the shape of airplane wings.


Who was the better communicator?


In this example, part of the problem was that the engineer misunderstood his audience and used jargon. But he made another mistake as well. He used unnecessary detail. What he saw as precision in communication ended up muddying the message. Remember that details that are important to the people inside your organization might not be important to your donors and supporters.


When you are writing an appeal letter or article for a fundraising newsletter, who are you writing for? Your boss? The CEO? The board president? Or your donors and supporters?


To make your communication crystal clear, always keep your audience in mind.


If you want to make sure you’re making your message crystal clear, enlist the help of a professional nonprofit writer. Contact us to find out how affordable it can be to get the expert writing and editing help you need.


Fundraising Assets helps busy fundraising professionals raise more money, save valuable time and reduce costs. We offer consulting, writing, design and production services for direct mail and e-mail fundraising, social networking and more.

14 Comments »

  1. 1

    Fascinating blog. I’m in the communication business, I’m a fiction writer, so I agree completely. If we’d all make ourselves clear, what a nicer world it would be. Happy Blog Jog Day.

    Comment by joylene — May 9, 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  2. 2

    Jogging through. I’m going to recommend your site to a friend trying to raise fund for a Christian nonprofit organization.

    Comment by Warren Baldwin — May 9, 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  3. 3

    So true. It’s very important to know and write to your audience. Thanks for the great article and for being part of the blog jog today. I’m @writersinthesky on Twitter. Give a yell and I’ll follow you back.

    Comment by Yvonne Perry — May 9, 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  4. 4

    Joylene,
    The sad thing is that people try so hard to communicate clearly, but miss the mark. Thanks for your comment.
    Connie

    Comment by Connie — May 10, 2010 @ 8:46 AM

  5. 5

    Warren,
    Thanks so much. I hope your friend finds our services valuable.
    Connie

    Comment by Connie — May 10, 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  6. 6

    Yvonne,
    We’re on Twitter @fundraiserhelp. I’ll look for you.
    Connie

    Comment by Connie — May 10, 2010 @ 8:49 AM

  7. 7

    Interesting. I’m happy to have found you through Blog Jog Day,

    Comment by Donna McDine — May 13, 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  8. 8

    Donna,
    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blog Jog Day was great. I enjoyed it, too!
    Connie

    Comment by Connie — May 13, 2010 @ 10:00 PM

  9. 9

    Recently it had been reported that James Cameron’s mega hit movie Avatar became the greatest grossing film ever with an international haul of over $1. 9 billion. The movie will break numerous box office records before all is said and done. But beyond the numbers and the accolades, Avatar offers audiences something much more intriguing: a check out the future of cinema.

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    This may function as the year you surprise your loved ones by having an early holiday gift of a portable DVD player for the car. If you are packing everyone up for a road trip this year it seems sensible to create along some entertainment that everyone else can take delight in does it not? Banish the tedium of the drive and the ever present questions of "are we there yet? and "how considerably longer? " and turn the travel time in to family time.

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