You may have seen this image online. Did you initially notice the strategic placement of the comma and the huge difference it makes?
I have to admit, I like this kind of stuff. It’s mildly humorous and it makes a point (um…no pun intended). Punctuation can be a serious matter. Not using it correctly can have dire consequences.
Here’s another of my favorites from the Internet. Ponder away!
Love Letter to John?
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.
You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.
You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
I recently interviewed James White, a lifelong “conscious capitalist,” even before that term was invented.
For decades, he has been on the forefront of focusing on the Triple Bottom Line: people, planet, and profits. And because I am a writer and editor involved with the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Conscious Capitalism movement, I have started blogging for the group.
Yes, I have worked with and for nonprofits since childhood, because they focus on social change and making the world a better place for all.
But in the past few decades we have seen the phenomenal growth of for-profit entities that also seek the Triple Bottom Line: social mission businesses, social enterprises, green businesses, purpose-driven business, etc. In fact, I just attended Sustainatopia, a large international conference along those same lines.
I am thrilled to see the vast shift in today’s businesses world, as it adapts to the demands of people like you and me. We’re insisting on doing business as UNusual — that is, for the benefit of humanity and the environment. No longer is the nonprofit world the only place to participate in this work.
My first blog post for the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Conscious Capitalism movement is a good place to begin to explore this world.
The article starts out like this: Continue reading
One recent morning a very interesting email came across my desk. It was from a reporter at the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Could I offer any words of wisdom about jargon in nonprofit fundraising appeals?
Hmm…where shall I begin?
My thoughts, combined with those of other experts in the field, came out in an article published earlier this month. While only subscribers can read the full text, you can start with this excerpt:
Stakeholder. Leverage. Consensus building. Paradigm shift. These are just a few of the words and phrases that drive some communications experts crazy when they pop up in fundraising appeals.
Such jargon tells potential donors next to nothing. And as people’s attention spans grow shorter, a direct-mail letter or an email littered with such phrases may fall flat with the people you want to reach.
Jargon often creeps into fundraising appeals because the authors become too comfortable with office parlance. They forget to think about whether people outside of the organization will understand the letter, email, tweet, or Facebook post. Continue reading
(Creative Commons photo license)
Q: What’s the danger in misusing hyperbole?
A: While we all like to think that our work is unique, essential, and groundbreaking, that can’t always be the case. (I think of the phrase from A Prairie Home Companion, “where the children are all above average.”)
It behooves you as a socially responsible changemaker to get your facts straight and do your research; exaggeration has no place in your writing. You certainly don’t want your readers to doubt your integrity or knowledge of your field if they learn you’re not telling the whole truth.
Of course, If extensive research tells you that you are the only/best/least expensive/most effective/largest (etc.) organization doing your work in the way you are doing it, by all means tell the world about it. Just stay away from claims that seem too good to be true (what a turn-off!).
In all other cases, take the time to qualify your statements. Temper the temptation to go overboard. Look for the unique part of what you do and focus on that distinction — in an honest and clear way. For example, maybe you’re the only one in your geographic area making a specific community change. Perhaps you specialize in a particular population within your larger field. If you are contributing a major piece of the puzzle in your field, but your partners also form part of the solution, take them into account and share the credit.
Keep it real and always be mindful of your credibility.
Ireland is known as a wonderful source of written inspiration for us in the Western world. I remember reading many Irish writers back in school (I bet you do, too).
So I thought St. Patrick’s Day would be a perfect time to pay homage by re-visiting some of my favorite writing quotes from the land of shamrocks. Won’t you join me?
“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.” – James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
“If you have the words, then there’s always the chance that you’ll find the way.” – Seamus Heaney
“The words ran away from me.” – Edna O’Brien
“When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;”
– William Butler Yeats, “When You are Old”
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of being Earnest
‘Writing is learning to say nothing, more cleverly each day.’ – William Allingham
“I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversations.” – George Bernard Shaw