enough "aiming"

I say this with the deepest love and respect for those who are guilty of this: enough with the "aiming".

This week's blog is a bit (or a lot) of a rant. But it's a rant that has an important and practical lesson. Stop using the word "aim" to describe your organizations work. Period.

I see so many organizations, especially small ones, start their messaging with "we aim to...". Instead, try "we..." Your message is much stronger if you talk about the work you are doing, not the work you aim to do. The impact you are having, not the impact you aim to have.

Own it!

I think one of the reasons that this language is so pervasive in our industry is because we are reluctant to make bold claims or take ownership of our incredible work. Please, when it comes to fundraising, stop it.

Want to see the difference?

I was recently at an incredible fundraiser for StopGap. A beautiful organization with a beautifully simple solution to a very pervasive and important problem - accessibility. This organization is doing incredible work that I admire and support. At the event, there was a big unveiling of the organization's website.

After years in development, making a website that is both fully accessible and powerful in telling the organization's story, there was a great deal of gravitas given to this unveiling. Here's what the homepage looked like:

Beautiful and vibrant! Except one small thing.

Get rid of "aiming"!

Boy, I feel like I'm almost yelling here. I'm sorry for getting so worked up.

Imagine how much more powerful it would read if it just said "StopGap helps solve this problem." Period. Full stop. And true and authentic. They wouldn't be saying that they are totally solving the problem, just that they are helping to solve it. But "aiming to help solve it"? What does that even mean?

Here's another one taken from one of the big Facebook groups for nonprofit workers and volunteers. I've removed personal details: "our non profit aims to reduce loneliness and isolation of older people living in our neighbourhood." Just take out "aims" to make this statement more powerful and compelling. "Our nonprofit reduces loneliness..."

I see this time and again. And it's starting to drive me crazy.

StopGap folks, I'm deeply sorry for calling you out on this. I hope you fix it soon and take some comfort in knowing that you may have helped other organizations make bolder, stronger statements about their work.