Own the Complexity, Pass On the Clarity

Simplify complexity and amplify clarity. Explore how nonprofits can effectively convey their messaging to engage and inspire.

At Liminal, one phrase that guides our work with nonprofits is, “Own the complexity and pass on clarity.”

This phrase makes us think of a reporter pouring over months of research the week before her publishing deadline. She has to make sense of hours of interviews with three experts, a counterpoint from a local city council member, and has bookmarked four sections in two books. But in the end, what goes to print is a concise headline and 800 words on the local issue. This is what gets shared on Facebook, argued over in the comments section, and skimmed over coffee.

Nonprofit leaders are like our reporter — both are experts charged with translating complex issues into digestible, compelling information for outsiders to absorb and interpret.

Every day, nonprofits work to offer solutions to the world’s most challenging problems: issues like extreme poverty, public health, systemic racism, economic empowerment, human trafficking, and violence.

Nonprofit leaders often feel the responsibility to fully inform donors and prospective donors of all the intricacies and difficulties of what it takes to accomplish its mission. But when people are made to process too much information, it makes it more difficult for them to understand what your organization actually does and how they can be part of it.

Leaders have to learn to own the complexity of their work and create core messaging that provides people with a smooth “on-ramp” to engage with the organization’s programs and services.

When you give people clarity, you also give them a clear way to take action.

P.S. If you have not had the chance to already, be sure and download our free eBook Effective Nonprofit Branding.

Todd Hiestand

Todd has over 20 years of experience as a leader in the nonprofit sector. He has served in a wide variety of roles, guiding digital marketing, technology, fundraising, eCommerce, and communications strategies. His expertise in developing systems and processes has helped launch organizations and sustain growth over time.

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