Tuesday Buzz: Write Meaningful Metaphors

Metaphors can be useful communication tool for nonprofits. Here’s how to use them to convey your organization’s mission effectively. Also: Amanda Kaiser recommends thinking about your group’s approachability.

Many mission-driven organizations have to instill complex topics into a small amount of copy, and to do so, many copywriters rely on metaphors. But the problem with metaphors, just as with cookies, is that sometimes they crumble.

To make sure the metaphors you’re using are effective, they need to be as relatable as possible. “Good metaphors are inherently democratizing: they rely on objects and actions that are familiar to everyone,” writes Rose Hendricks, a researcher at the FrameWorks Institute, in a recent article for Nonprofit Quarterly. “This way, people can use their knowledge of the well-known concept to make sense of the less familiar one.”

Hendricks provides examples of metaphors that work and don’t work, including an attempt to convey how important the ocean is to environmental health. The metaphor compared the planet to the internet; but it turns out that a lot of people don’t understand how the internet works, making the metaphor ineffective.

Be Approachable

Is your association as approachable as you think it is? You may be hurting your engagement rate if you’re not making it easy for people to reach out to your organization.

“Unreturned voicemail and email tells us staff is unapproachable,” writes Amanda Kaiser in a Smooth the Path post. “Calls answered right away signals approachability.”

Approachability helps your members open up to you in a way that may help you serve them better. “Before members truthfully share what is in their hearts and on their minds they have to feel the association staff is approachable,” says Kaiser.

Other Links of Note

In a rapidly evolving world, the shelf life of some skills is getting shorter. Here’s how associations can prep their members for the future from YourMembership.

Take your Instagram account to the next level. Elevation shares a guide for elevating your nonprofit’s brand.

GDPR is officially here, so now what? CMSWire talks about what comes next.

(princigalli/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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