I work with endowment building organizations a great deal. Yet when I ask most of them - board and staff - to define endowment, everybody is struck dumb. Maybe it's because they assume that everybody knows what that means. But actually they don't.
Look at your writing. I read some board minutes and the average sentence was 20 words long. Many were whole paragraphs. How about one thought per sentence. And be cautious about too many pronouns.
Does your writing sound like you? If not, revise it. Write like you talk. People aren't reading text books in our communications. They are reading about people and programs and good results. Use the same enthusiasm in your writing as you would in your conversations.
Use the active voice. Helen walked the dog. Not, the dog was walked by Helen. Passive expressions most often include the word "by."
And then there are financial statements. Wonderful software programs spit out reports that only a tiny percentage of a group can understand. You may need these reports for some purpose. But the rest of us need to see what numbers are important to our work. You should create a statement that is meaningful to the users.
I'm an old art teacher, so you aren't surprised when I say "a picture is worth a thousand words." Can you put your numbers in graphic form? Today these presentations are called dashboards and they work well. Decide what information you want. Decide if you want to compare it to previous periods. Create pie charts, bar graphs, pictographs or trend lines. They all work and will most likely be remembered better than long reports.
So remember to do what we always say. Keep it simple, stupid ... but I don't for a moment think you are stupid.
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