Jokin’ ‘Bout Jargon: The Lighter Side of Nonprofit Marketing

With great pleasure, I present another guest post today, this time from Claire Meyerhoff. It’s been faaaarrrrr tooooo loooong since Claire wrote for us! Enjoy! ~Kivi

Guest Post by Claire Meyerhoff

Claire Meyerhoff

Claire Meyerhoff

At NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, we kid about jargon all the time. Kivi and I regularly lace our nonprofit marketing jokes with terms like “capacity building” and “impacting youth,” which says a lot about us as marketing geeks with a high-concept (!) sense of humor.

Now, I’ve found the perfect entertainment for the next Kivi and Claire Nonprofit Marketing Guide girl’s night-in wine and pizza party – the Jargon Generator!

The Jargon Generator (JG) seems to be making the rounds among industry insiders like grant writers (thanks, Amanda) who have a sense of humor about their world of wonky wordsmithing. According to JG, the goal is to help you find “useful phrases” to use “until grant application or annual report is completed.”

Here’s how it works: you type any word or phrase, the JG spits out a jargon phrase and people like me LMAO.

Examples of how JG generates BIG LAUGHS:

I typed “creative marketing” and the JG translated this to:

restructure intensive metrics.” (Hahahaha!)

I typed “help people” and JG offered this jargon-laden crazy phrase:

morph hyper-local B corporations.” (OMG WTF is that? LOL)

I typed “party” and here’s JG’s alternative:

maximize expert panel discussions.” (Kivi, pass the Pinot Grigio!)

Kivi and I always talk about why nonprofit writing is so boring. It’s because earnest, well-educated nonprofit people write the same way whether they’re writing a grant or a newsletter article – even though the reader (audience) is totally different. If your reader is a grant maker, they expect to see terms like “affinity based.” It’s shorthand, the lingo, the jargon.

Marketing is much different because your audience is a “real person” like your volunteers, friends and those people who write checks because they want to help you do great work. We call them “donors” – which, whether you agree or not, is jargon.

I have no idea about the identity of the brain behind the brilliance, otherwise, I’d give you props right here ___________. Thanks to you, the Jargon Generator makes us laugh, and also serves a very sober purpose: reminding us to keep our audience in mind when we write!

Claire Meyerhoff is Nonprofit Marketing Guides’s media expert and advocate of “writing to your audience.” She works with orgs small and big, including the National Wildlife Federation. Her company is The Agency, specializing in Planned Giving Marketing, Advertising and Communications. She’s still working on her website, and the best way to reach her is at MeyMedia@aol.com.

  • Fouhyb

    Good piece, Claire!

  • http://www.nonprofitwebsitesolution.com/ Nonprofit Websites

    This post was a blast to read, especially with the JG stuff. We might want to try it as an ice breaker at the next meeting. LOL