Nonprofit staff do amazing work everyday. Unfortunately, you sometimes get so wrapped up in your work that you forget how to talk about it in ways that everyone else can understand.
Here are some signs that your writing might have tipped over to the dark side.
1. You are cutting and pasting grant application text into your newsletters. This means you are probably using lots of lingo and jargon that people who work in your field get, but the rest of us won’t.
2. You find yourself skimming your own writing. If you don’t have the patience to actually read what you wrote, what makes you think the rest of us will?
3. The article could have been written yesterday or ten years ago. If your writing is completely devoid of any references to here and now, it’s probably boilerplate, which is usually boring.
4. You refer to yourself as “the association,”the council,” or by your organization’s name. 501(c)(3) organization’s don’t write articles and letters; people who work at them do. Make sure your readers can tell that a real person is the writer. Simply using “we” to refer to your organization and “you” to refer to your reader can help.
5. When reading your writing out loud, you can’t get to the end of most sentences without taking a breath. This is a sure sign you need to shorten your sentences, and probably your paragraphs too.