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unclear message

Your Work is Too Important to Have an Unclear Message: The four most critical parts of your message to clarify

Whatever it is you do, you wouldn’t do it if it weren’t important, right? The long hours, the stress, the pre-occupation; in the long run, you know it’s worth it because the work is important. It’s too important, in fact, to have an unclear message.

If your message isn’t crystal clear to those most important to your success—inside and out of your organization—it’s holding you back. It’s keeping you from:

  • Attracting and retaining the best talent
  • New donors or customers
  • Partnerships
  • Media attention
  • Greater efficiency and focus
  • New opportunities

Unless you’re confident that you’re reaping the rewards of all six, here are the four most critical parts of your message you must clarify:

  1. Why do you do what you do? It might seem obvious but in all likelihood, it’s not. Making certain everyone has access to a good education seems important. But why? Which is a more compelling rallying cry? (1) Education is important. (2) Access to quality education will save humanity from itself. 
  2. What is it? That’s another one that might seem like a no-brainer but ask around. Can everyone in your organization describe it? Give it a try. You may be surprised. Which of these is more relatable? (1) The New York State Children’s Alliance, Inc. (NYSCA) is the membership organization representing Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) which provide services to abused children in 61 counties and four tribal nations throughout New York State. (2) The New York State Children’s Alliance delivers the expertise and resources needed to care for abused children.
  3. How do you do that differently than all the other choices people for their time, talent, and treasure? The key here is to identify the top three or four aspects of your work that no one else can claim. Hint: having a low cost of fundraising or excellent customer service doesn’t count.
  4. What is your organization’s personality? Are you serious and academic? Optimistic and uplifting? Pragmatic and stoic? Having your organization’s personality woven into your message is the only way to come across as authentic, believable, and worthy. Here’s an example of two competitors saying the same message but in two completely different voices that align with their brand’s personality attributes.

Don’t let an out-of-date, overly complicated, or uninspired message jeopardize your important work.

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