Nothing you write, if you hope to be good, will ever come out as you first hoped. — Lillian Hellman
Q: We are writing an appeal letter and we’re trying to figure out what pronouns to use. You see, we’ve taken your advice to heart that we should include our readers in a “conversation on paper.” That means using the words “you” and “your” as much as we can. But sometimes we have to talk about what the organization is doing. It gets confusing. Help!
A: Yes, it can be a bit tricky at times, if you’re not careful.
A simple switch from the “we” of the organization to the “you” of your reader goes like this:
Original: We want to bring native plants back to our community. But we need your help!
Suggested revision: You can help improve our city’s environment by planting and saving native plants. They bring many benefits to our community and help us avoid eco-trouble down the line.
Did you see what I did there? Changing the perspective like that is pretty clear.
But did you also notice that in the suggested revision there’s a “we” also — and it now includes the reader? That second sentence is now talking about “our city’s environment” and “our community”. No longer is it “we” the organization needing “your” help.
The rule of thumb operating here is this: Continue reading
I am excited to speak, exhibit, and coach at the upcoming Nonprofit Awareness Expo in the Las Vegas area on October 20 and 21. The Philantrepreneur Foundation is presenting the event with the help of many community partners, including the Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits, United Way, and SCORE.
At the Nonprofit Awareness Expo, leaders and professionals will offer valuable insight via a community panel discussion and multiple presentations with strategies and resources for anyone in a for-purpose or nonprofit business.
Brand messaging, CRM systems, Internet marketing, and connecting in the community are just a few of the topics we’ll cover.
“I’m so proud of Dr. Victoria Boyd and the outstanding work she is doing with The Philantrepreneur Foundation,” said Julie Murray, President of the Moonridge Group. “Her vision for a collaborative community is inspirational! They are making great progress to inspire non-profits to work together, and will make a significant and long-lasting impact in our community.” Continue reading
Thanks to my friends at the Bay Area Editors’ Forum, I just learned of a great Wired.com article called “What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos.” The article offers some of the science behind that all-too-common malady.
The piece quotes psychologist Tom Stafford, a researcher at the UK’s University of Sheffield: “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high-level task.” And your brain temporarily concentrates on that task to the exclusion of other ones, such as accurate typing.
Essentially, when you’re writing you’re in what I call the “creative” phase. And well you should be! Get it all out and do your best to say what you want to say.