Eliminate Jargon to Increase Donor Response

in Copywriting - Nonprofit,Fundraising

Have you ever tried to drive a car in a heavy fog?Foggy Fundraising Appeals

You don’t have a clear view of where you’re going. You can’t make the safest driving decisions mainly because you can’t see well. You don’t know what lies ahead.

Likewise, when your fundraising appeals – digital or print – are riddled with jargon, you’re burying your donors in a fog. They can’t make good decisions about whether to donate or not simply because you haven’t made it clear what you’re talking about!

Bottom line: Response is lower. Revenue is lower. The people, animals, etc. you’re trying to help continue to suffer.

Don’t garble your message with industry phrases, or politically correct ambiguity. Remember, donors don’t live in your world. They don’t think the same way you do about the problems you’re trying to solve. They don’t deal with your nonprofit’s issues day-in and day-out. Their lives are filled with plenty of other problems. So get to the point.

And tell it like it is. For example:

Because poverty is pure misery.

Because pollution stinks.

It’s pretty clear what the problems are and there’s no sugar coating.

Here are just a handful of words and phrases that I believe fall into the “jargon” category:

at risk






value added



preserve the dignity of _(fill in the blank)_

These words and phrases tend to slow down your donors (readers) – just as you have to travel slower when driving in a fog. Their understanding is reduced which means fewer donors will decide it’s safe to donate to your cause. They won’t get involved. That’s bad.

Clarity increases response. It clears the air of fog and indecision. Your message is stronger and so is response – all other things being equal, that is.

Eliminate the jargon. Increase response in your nonprofit appeals.

More reading on the subject: Tell It Like It Is



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