Words that can help us think more clearly

From Roy Williams’ excellent MondayMorningMemo, here’s a piece about some new ways to think about how we motivate donors to act: What to Say.

Williams says, “New ideas are carried by new words.” And he has a list of some of these new words and how they apply to marketing and advertising. They’re all good, but I’d like to point out just a few that can especially apply to fundraising:


  • Authenticity: Being what you say you are.
  • Ad-speak: Clichés, empty phrases, unsubstantiated claims and hyperbole — the language of yesterday’s advertising.
  • Brandable chunks: Vivid, recurring phrases used by an advertiser to help position and define the brand. Slogans and taglines are out. Brandable chunks are in.
  • Black words: Empty words that fail to contribute to a colorful mental image. The objective of every good writer is to remove the black words so that the others shine more brightly.

Real is in. Fake is out. Even more so for fundraising than for advertising.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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