An open letter to Non-Profit bloggers

photo credit: a.drain

To whom it may concern:

Please stop using your blog to prove how smart you are.

I know that you are brilliant.  I see the PhD behind your name.  I understand your work is serious and the world needs to know just how complex the problem is and what you are doing to fix it.

The thing is, your blog is not the place to tell me about it.  I read your blog over my lunch hour, or with my morning coffee, or when I need a break from a difficult problem at work.  When you write giant swaths of text with acronyms I don’t know and complex sentence structure,   my eyes slide off your words and I am forced to go look at pictures of sleeping kittens.

It’s not that I don’t  care, or even that there isn’t a place for the detailed analysis.  I’m just asking that you give me a chance to get to know you before we get into the deep stuff.

Let’s start with a nice success story that includes pictures of happy kids you helped this month.  What about a behind-the-scenes piece about what really goes on in the rehearsal hall?  Even a list of all the great things you could do if I send money is better than what I can only imagine is recycled bits of your dissertation.

It turns out (on your blog at least) the super dense, scholarly articles don’t make me trust you more, or remind me of how dire the problem is– they make me feel like there is no room for me in your organization.  They don’t make me want to learn more, they make me leave.

I believe in you and I believe in your cause.  I want to support you and yes, I want to read your blog.  Just give me an opening*.


A Potential Donor

*and an occasional picture of a kitten would be nice.

8 thoughts on “An open letter to Non-Profit bloggers

  1. YES! Thanks for saying this in such a constructive way! I too, read blogs on lunch or between work tasks and typically look for “light” reading – or pictures of kittens and puppies (LOL).

  2. Thinking too much these days is dangerous…
    Though I am turned toward nonprofit it seems my mind is in overwhelm as well.

    I just joined facebook and was stunned at how many followers are cause-driven.

    My growing up in the sixties seemed to create curiosity toward improving things in general, yet, today we are bombarded by so many choices.

    Cute pictures of puppies and kittens are becoming obsolete (unless pictures are referening saving puppies and kittens) and driving us to druken stupors.

    Thanks to Potential Donor for helping us balance our altruism with normalcy.

  3. hello again,

    Forgive my perfectionism, I’m rather new at expressing an opinion online. Love this site, but am not content with my closing statement referring to Potential Donor and nonprofit elitism.

    Love cute puppies and kittens… and the simplicity of his imagery. Just tried to agree that wholesomeness and positive results do indeed “invite” and inspire, while soapbox testamonials can be a detour.

    My apology for leaving a reference to drunken stupor…
    online when cute kittens said it much better.

    Just hoping we can relax within the confines of also caring about family, friends and good works … otherwise, we’re out of balance and ineffective.

    Thanks for allowing me a “p.s.”

  4. […] I’ve mentioned this idea before, but it bears repeating.  As a leader you need to understand and account for all the layers of complexity surrounding your organization as well as the ecosystem in which you work, but that doesn’t mean you have to explain every piece of evidence that led to your conclusion in mind-numbing detail.  Part of your job is to wade through the complexity and distill it down to ideas that are easy for your people to understand and act upon. […]

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