In Non Profit Marketing, Communicate Like Humans Do

There is a nonprofit marketing revolution afoot. It’s about ridding marketing communications of robotic jargon and complicated language in favor of engaging in conversations—like humans do.

Take a look at your non profit organization’s marketing materials: from the website and online forms, to the newsletter and email messaging. How many instances of words like “paradigm,” “accountability,” “impact,” “leverage,” “mission-critical,” and “synergy” do you find? Do you ask interested website visitors for their personal information, or do you demand it?

Overused terms like “paradigm” don’t have much meaning when readers just gloss over them. And category-specific jargon might be confusing to some readers—and turn them right off. Real humans don’t talk in jargon—and after all, when you’re promoting your non profit organization, you are talking to real humans.

It’s important to keep marketing content simple and friendly. Pretend that your brochure, website, volunteer application, or newsletter is a person—with a personality, a distinct voice, and a professional, straightforward vocabulary.

Share information as a friendly neighbor would—and keep that “friendly neighbor” tone in mind. Don’t assume your audience knows what your organization does, how long it’s been around, or who is on the executive team and board of directors.

Put a likable face on your non profit organization. Staff, volunteer, and management photos make you look real—and human. And when posing the board of directors for their annual photo shoot, put them outside in more casual outfits instead of around a big table with their hands folded.

Instead of demanding information on your online forms, ask for it. Forms can be friendly! Rather than Name/Address/Phone/Email for registration forms, use language like:

  • Introduce yourself!
  • Where would you like emails sent?
  • Can we call you?
  • Where should we send news?

When you think of your audience as humans, and your marketing materials as people you’re asking to communicate for you, it only makes sense to use human language to do the job!

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