On a recent snowy morning, waiting for the radio for traffic and weather updates, I listened to callers provide current corporate words. The host, not taking this exercise too seriously, was using the exercise to create a corporate language bingo for an upcoming meeting. As much as I was amused, it reminded me that words matter.
The nonprofit industry often skips some quintessential corporate language, mergers, acquisitions, and profit and loss statements. Not to say the nonprofit sector is absent of the tasks of the corporate world, but we are often associated with different terms. Of course, the never-ending alphabet of acronyms.
Yet, communicating is a critical function of any nonprofit leader. There is a delicate balance between buzzwords and authenticity. These five steps can help get your message out without rhetoric.
- Be authentic. Use words that resonate with you and explain why your message is essential to others.
- Be accurate. There is so much competition for our time; however, sending out information without fact-checking or reviewing information can be reckless. Take the time to make sure your message is accurate and depicts facts.
- Be consistent. Consistent messaging is critical, and this includes consistent branding. There are many platforms and communication methods, so take the time to ensure your brand and language are consistent throughout.
- Be graphic. That is right, be graphic! A picture can tell a thousand stories. If you do not have a library of images or access to picture galleries, it is money well spent for those professional images. Infographics communicate information well and capture attention more quickly than a big block of text can in campaigns.
- Be Two-Faced. Sending out information to employees, donors, the community, etc., is another way to gain feedback.
Maybe we don’t always want to read the comments, but they can provide valuable information. Also, having contact information or easy links to respond can be worthwhile. Check your email signature and social media accounts and ensure the information is current. Communication should be continuous and include opportunities for feedback.
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