I have been among those leading the tirade against continuing to produce foundation annual reports. I believe, as do some others (and I hope a growing number), that the considerable investment in time and money yields a negligible return and is actually an enormous opportunity cost: How else could those precious resources have been spent to achieve greater purpose and have more impact?
First – Be Direct
The inaugural speech was brief, direct and to the point. The President was clear in his call to launch an era of responsibility – talking about why this needs to happen, how it could happen, and providing examples about how we have done it before. Unlike most political speeches, this moment did not call for an anecdote about one American who had done extraordinary things. This speech really was an attempt to reach and engage each and every one of us.
Based on how some of us with the Communications Network constantly rail against offending jargon, you’d think it’s only foundation and nonprofits that are guilty of this sin. Well, you can take some comfort knowing that other abusers of language abound, including organizations – like foundations and nonprofits – that also depend on clear communication so the public knows what they are talking about (and in some cases, more so). According to an article in the New York Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) — the agency that oversees the state’s public transportation systems — recently issued a report detailing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint that the Times says “filled with colorful, head-scratching, tongue-twisting gobbledygook.”
The Communications Network has just released Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide. The title pretty much says it all — if you don’t know how your communications are doing, how can you tell if your work is on track and helping you reach your goal? Thanks to support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a team from Asibey Consulting (Edith Asibey, Toni Parras, and Justin W. van Fleet), spent nearly a year interviewing, researching and developing the guide.
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