Who knew there was a whole new language for fundraising?  Then within the fundraising world they are broken out into specific areas of fundraising.  There are unique terms for major gift and planned giving officers, prospect researchers, and of course, analytics.  To make it even more interesting are the acronyms that are used throughout the business.  Had I known I would be living in a world of acronyms I would have taken shorthand in high school!

I know I am not the only one who walks into a meeting and in a few short sentences a third of the terms are acronyms and have no idea truly what was just communicated.   Here are some common and not so common terms you may come across and now you won’t have to ask that embarrassing question – “What did they say?”

  • CSV – I know for many people this is a common term but I have learned over the years that not everyone knows what it means – comma separated value or just a fancy term for a type of excel spreadsheet.  CSV allows you to accommodate more data than the traditional excel spreadsheet.  CSV files are commonly used for importing and exporting data from a database.
  • NFP or NPO  — Not for Profit and Non-Profit Organization
  • SWEDOW – At first when I saw this I thought it was the surname for one of my Swedish relatives but it stands for “Stuff we don’t want” which is used when nonprofits receive donated items.
  • TGRN – No it is not Thank God for Registered Nurses it is actually “The Global Fundraising Network”.
  • MGF – This is the Mobile Giving Foundation which I don’t believe we would have seen at all a few years ago so this goes to show the acronyms are being added every day.

With the continuing popularity of planned giving I think it is prudent that we all become aware of some popular acronyms from this field of fundraising.

  • CLAT – Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
  • CLUT – Charitable Lead Unitrust
  • CRAT – Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust
  • CRUT – Charitable Remainder Unitrust

So in closing I would recommend that you either create a cheat sheet that you keep handy by your desk or become ambitious and write a book on fundraising acronyms.  I will be the first one in line to get a signed copy.

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