Fundraising with words you don’t like

At the Duck Call Blog, Words to Avoid – 2011 Edition:


  • In these economic times
  • More than ever
  • Take it to the next level
  • Ideate
  • Literally
  • Bandwidth
  • -centric
  • The cloud
  • Twitterverse

I don’t have much argument with the badness of most of these words.

I do have a problem with the reason most of these words are on this list, and on similar lists. They are there because someone doesn’t like them. And that is not a good reason to avoid using any word or phrase.

Ugliness is not a reason to avoid using a word in fundraising. In some cases, ugliness might do exactly the job you need done to persuade someone to give.

Jargon is not a reason to avoid using a word in fundraising. If you have a homogeneous group of donors (such as all in the same religious group or profession), jargon — their jargon — can be a very good way to communicate with them. The jargon to avoid is your in-house jargon or others that donors are unlikely to understand.

Overuse is not a reason to avoid using a word in fundraising. In fact, overuse is generally a sign that a word makes sense and/or has resonance for a lot of people.

Fundraising is not literature.

If you’re using your position in fundraising to forward your personal agenda about words and phrases you don’t like, you’re committing misfeasance.

Your job is to raise funds, not to save the English language.


Comments

2 responses to “Fundraising with words you don’t like”

  1. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this post. I particularly like your point about jargon. We often try to avoid this in our writing because we think we should, but really, if messaging to a particular group, it is more important to speak their “language.” It is of the utmost importance to segment your audience and then speak to each group individually (using the words that its members use).

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this post. I particularly like your point about jargon. We often try to avoid this in our writing because we think we should, but really, if messaging to a particular group, it is more important to speak their “language.” It is of the utmost importance to segment your audience and then speak to each group individually (using the words that its members use).

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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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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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