I love this quote from Thomas L. Friedman:

“In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue.”

This is an incredibly powerful strategy for those of you who feel like you should be in charge of various aspects of communications or marketing or fundraising, but aren’t. If no one is really accountable or everyone (including the misinformed and clueless) thinks they should have an equal say, your expertise may be dismissed.

One way to lead is to be seen as “owning” the issue in your organization. And as Friedman points out, if you can name something, you can often own it.

Own Marketing and Communications Planning

Here’s an example: What should your nonprofit communications goals, strategies and objectives be? Well, for starters, not everyone agrees on the differences between goals, strategies, and objectives generically, so you are already at a disadvantage. Now apply that to marketing and fundraising communications, and it’s chaos — unless someone (like you!) NAMES the options.

We’ve given you a huge head start with our 12 most common nonprofit marketing goals, strategies and objectives.

Use our lists to name the options that decision makers can choose from, and you are well on your way to having an ownership stake in those conversations.

Own the Voice, Style, and Tone of Your Written Communications

Here’s another example: How many times do you go round and round with multiple edits of a draft because reviewers don’t agree on the voice, style, or tone of the piece?

Again, you can assert some ownership by simply doing some naming. We’re providing another head start by identifying the seven writing styles that nonprofits use most often.

  1. Microcontent
  2. Storytelling
  3. Donor-Centered Copywriting
  4. News Writing
  5. Conversion Copywriting
  6. Lifestyle Writing
  7. Thought Leadership

By naming the styles and deciding upfront which style should be used for any given piece of communications, you are then asserting some level of control over what that piece should look like. There’s a big difference between news writing and donor-centered copywriting, for example. If you can name and articulate the differences between the styles, you’ll have a bigger role in saying when the piece is ready for publication.

Ready to step up and lead? Name it!