Find a unique voice is a problem that dogs most organizations, whether they are for- or not-for-profit. How to avoid falling into the trap of sounding like everyone else? This challenge is especially true in jargon- and acronym-rich arenas.
When every organization is using the same language, of course, it takes on a universal, and often inaccurate, meaning. People will assume that empowerment means the same for you as it does for the day-care center around the corner. You know the old saying, “if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are, it’s a duck.”
Our challenge to you? If you’re not a duck, stop quacking.
There’s a simple test to see if you’re sounding a bit a l’Orange. Look at passages from your website, your brochures, or appeal letters. Then, swap out your name from any other organization. Does the copy still work? If it doesn’t, well done!
If it does, it’s time to devote some energy to finding the language that sets you apart. Spend some time thinking about:
- Why you do what you do? Why do you care, and more importantly, why should anyone else?
- How you do what you do differently than anyone else. Why is your approach more appealing than that of others?
- What are the intrinsic aspects of what you do that are unique to you?
After all of that, try to map all those qualities to what appeals to those most important to your mission’s success and you’ll be on your way to finding your unique voice.