Non-profit appeals letters for the giving season are often written by the executive director, marketing person or board chair to compel donations for their charity organizations. Often we find these individuals are usually deep into the mindset of the organization and may have lost perspective on the most effective language to use in order to maximize giving from donors. We see many appeals campaigns in our organization this time of year from our non-profit and charitable organization partners. Jargon, or special words or expressions that are specific to the group that is hard for others to understand, can be the killer of any great campaign. Here are a few ways to reduce the use of jargon during your letter writing sessions.

  1. Ask someone else on your team to read the letter and provide insight into any words they may see as jargon.
  2. Ask someone outside of the organization read the letter for understanding.
  3. If jargon is found, ask yourself, “Is there a simpler word that can be used to describe our intent?”
  4. Avoid common buzzwords that may be used daily within your job but may not have common understanding outside of the non-profit world.
  5. Avoid “big” words. Most writing programs will remind us to write to a 3rd-grade level. This is not insulting to your audience nor does it mean that they only read at that level. It is just a way to ensure your message is simple and easy to understand.
  6.  Avoid acronyms. Or at least define them immediately if you have to use one.

If you feel you need more assistance, we are a phone call away. We have lots of samples, ideas, and experience for you to lean on. Have a great giving season!



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