3 Top Reasons to Clarify Your Messaging

May 8, 2018


Guest blog by Associate Member, Karen Cheeks, Founder, Cheeks Communications, LLC

What does your organization do?

You may be thinking that this is a trick question, but it’s not. How you respond when asked that question is key in your ability to raise funding, attract employees, and grow your audience. If you are having problems in any of these areas, it may be time to bring clarity to your organization’s messaging.

So, how do you know? The following questions can provide some clues.

  1. Are people clear about your organization’s work?
  2. What is the most important thing your organization does? Can all of your employees and volunteers articulate it?
  3. Do your communication channels (i.e., blogs, social media posts, website, newsletters, videos, podcasts) deliver consistent messages that reinforce your brand?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, step back and take a second look at what your messages convey to your outside audiences. Here are three top reasons to clarify your messaging:

Can’t Be All Things to All People

When we try to serve everyone, we end up serving no one. Think about your niche or what you do really well or where your expertise runs deep. Do any of your messages speak to these areas?

The Spaghetti Trick Doesn’t Stick

If you are familiar with the old adage about throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, please know this trial-and-error method does not work well when developing your messaging. Some research needs to be done to determine what types of messages will resonate with your key audiences. Remember, most people are dialed into the station WII-FM (What’s In It For Me). It is important to develop compelling messages that connect with people and move them to action.

If You Confuse, You Lose

That’s what my good friend (in my head) Donald Miller says, “if you confuse, you lose.” Whether you are engaged in fundraising, advocacy, client outreach, or something else, remember that people are inundated with a lot of information every day. When we have conflicting messages or provide too much information, we create confusion. Those you are trying to reach will tune you out and connect with the group they can easily understand. As much as you can, try to simplify your messages into clear, succinct, digestible soundbites.

While it takes time to fine-tune your messaging, it will pay off greatly for your organization in the end. You will start to see consistent messaging, better storytelling, and increased audience engagement!

Want more content on communications, marketing, messaging, and engaging donors? JOIN Maryland Nonprofits today! 

Karen Cheeks is a communications strategist who has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations over the course of her

20 year
career. As the founder of Cheeks Communications, LLC, Karen specializes in helping her clients communicate their message with ease, clarity and confidence. She has been an active Associate Member of Maryland Nonprofits for several years, participating as an presenter, guest blogger, and special taskforce member.