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 For a list of all the participating blogs, go to

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.


  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

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

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

  5. 5

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

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

  6. 6

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

    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

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

    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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    Actually, Toy Story was followed closely by numerous full length films that featured 3d people and characters, the majority of that have been hits. There is, obviously, the predictable sequel, Toy Story 2, the massive Shrek films, Final Fantasy, and today Avatar.

    What has Hollywood learned? To start with, they’ve learned that 3D animation technology isn’t just very popular, but additionally fairly low priced in comparison with other big studio films. They’ve also found that the benefit of images that use 3d people is almost universal, i. e., both adults and kids are fascinated with them.

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    Resource:The Many Benefits of 3D Character and People Modeling

    Comment by Plexveftglutt — March 14, 2012 @ 7:07 AM

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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.

    Create a Family Tradition. Choose a family favorite or holiday-themed DVD that you watch on the way to the household occasion. If the only real time you watch it is on the trip, then it becomes an event|watch on the way to the vacation feast. If the only real time you watch it is on the trip, then it’s a meeting. Older children might groan "not again", but will be a captive audience to sit through "Miracle on 34th Street" and could well even look right back fondly on the tradition.

    Have a Slideshow. Family slide shows was previously a night with popcorn and fussing with the slide projector and sideways slides. Now with digital images, showing your images is simpler, very easy that people go for granted sometimes. For the next road trip to visit relatives and buddies why don’t you come up with a DVD slide show of the year’s events or even more. It’ll create a fantastic gift for the hosts as well as your family reaches appreciate it on the trip. Get your child involved with making the slideshow and let them showcase their abilities.

    Stage a Sing Along. Place in a musical DVD, any such thing from "The Little Mermaid" to "The Sound of Music". Something the children knows the music to. You are able to only hear yourselves, so let loose and sing along. Constitute your personal lyrics. It’s silly and fun and children will probably be laughing way too hard to choose on one another.

    Movie Night. This is even much more fun if you’re traveling through the night. Surprise everyone by obtaining a blockbuster newest release that everybody’s been waiting to see. Snuggle up with blankets and pass a tub of popcorn that you fixed in advance. An action flick where you can cheer the great guy and boo the villain are specifically fun.

    Snooze Time. Ensure everyone else gets their naps, place in probably the most boring educational DVD you are able to locate and provide the driver some peace and quiet!

    Sure a portable DVD player for the car can play movies, but there is so somewhat a whole lot more you are able to do with those movies to show a household road trip in to true family time. Make the travel time a meeting by itself and develop your personal family travel traditions.

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