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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Communicating Clearly: Why Your Nonprofit Should Use Plain Language | Ami Neiberger-Miller, The PR Toolkit for Nonprofits

Here's a key statement in this article:
[T]he goal of writing for a nonprofit is to communicate, not to demonstrate how smart its staff members are or how glibly they can make up acronyms.
Neiberger-Miller describes how she worked with the staff at an international nonprofit organization to revise its writing style so it could communicate more effectively with its audiences:
  • grassroots volunteers operating nonprofits locally that were members of our national organization,
  • people who spoke English as a second language,
  • and many ordinary citizens who may or may not be impressed with our weighty vocabularies.
The staff initially resisted, she writes, but eventually began using plain language in its newsletter and website.

She writes:
Plain language empowers people to understand - it does not dumb-down a mission or program. It's not about "talking down" to people or making our writing boring and dull. ... Plain language is about making information accessible to everyone. Using plain language means that people can better understand what your nonprofit is doing.
Neiberger-Miller also lists various websites that provide more information on plain language, including my site: Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide.

This article is featured today (Sept. 26) in my daily online "paper," Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs--available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.


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