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Faux Sophistication

Do you read the appeal of a well meaning nonprofit as they describe the critical need they are addressing and how they are addressing it and wonder what you just read? Don’t worry, it’s an occurrence that’s becoming all too common these days.

Those that promote their organization often think that the more sophisticated, the more scientific they sound, the more convincing they are. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The four and five syllable conglomerate terms used in social science and now, increasingly, in philanthropy create a dulling vagueness and needless complexity in not only what is being accomplished but how.

Rather than the cause and need becoming more acute in the minds of potential investors, instead, communicators isolate themselves in an echo chamber of pseudo sophistication.

One of the cardinal rules of the investment genius Warren Buffett is to never invest in anything he can’t understand. From the looks of Mr. Buffet’s results, it’s hard to disagree with that.

Philanthropic investors want to understand what they are investing in. They want to feel it. They want to see—and appreciate—the results. Now there’s a unique fundraising idea.

Stick to the simple truth and you’ll see the results—real, material fundraising results. Words like, “respect”, “compassion” and “beauty” all resonate. And only one of them has three syllables.

Principle 2 of The Eight Principles™ is Begin at the Beginning™. When you start to proclaim your goals—and results—to others, keep it simple for those who will receive your message.

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