I call it “message drift.”
Here at Alexander Haas, we communicate to our clients how important it is to keep in mind how important it is to view their case for support “from the donor’s perspective.” Too often, many executive directors or development professionals get so caught up in their work only communicate using institutional jargon, numbers and statistics, and (let’s face it) pretty boring information. Instead of delivering a compelling message with stories about impact and results that their organization delivers, the staff members communicate from a comfort level of talking about day-to-day business information. The message “drifts” to their comfort level of “operations-speak” and can come across as lifeless, dull and more-business-as-usual. We all need for focus again on how we communicate with our donors.
The March 2013 e-newsletter from Guidestar drove this point home for me once again in an interview the publisher conducted with Tom Ahern, noted authority on nonprofit communications.
Over the years, I’ve read various articles written by Ahern and always uncover a nugget or two of insight that help me either in my volunteer work or as a consultant working with a variety of nonprofit organizations. I commend this interview to you for his engaging insights and for making us all think of how we talk with others passionately about our organizations without boring them with our jargon.