"Non-Profit Communications Are Boring"

Marketing and communications resources are everywhere on the Internet. But rarely do you find content that smacks you between the eyes when it comes to the most fundamental of tools–writing.

Another find in Guidestar’s March Newsletter was the article, The Dance of the Four Veils. It’s an excerpt from, “Seeing through a Donor’s Eyes: How to Make a Persuasive Case for Everything from Your Annual Drive to Your Planned Giving Program to Your Capital Campaign,” by Tom Ahern.

“For the most part, nonprofit communications are boring,” he writes. “Not on purpose, mind you. Still, they are almost always uninteresting, my vast exposure to them suggests. And why? Because they swaddle themselves in one or more of the following interest-draining veils.”

The four are:

  1. They reject any mention of conflict.
  2. A tendency to prefer weak, bland words to bold, vivid words.
  3. Faint (if any) appreciation for the emotional basis behind all human response.
  4. Jargon.

The article prompts one to conduct a quick mental review of recent fundraising brochures and annual reports. Competition for donations will be won by communicators who are the best story tellers. Avoiding the four veils is the first step. I’m looking forward to reading the book.


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