Jargon: I think this might be my favorite topic in our new peer-to-peer fundraising ebook.

Lauren, Shana and I talk about this all time… Jargon is a peer-to-peer fundraising don’t! Really, it’s all around fundraising don’t, but somehow nonprofit jargon has made its way onto our websites, into our email communications, and on our event badges.

It’s time to cut the jargon and start using language our supporters understand.

What is jargon? Dictionary.com defines jargon as:

  1. The language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group.
  2. Unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.

Our favorite is “meaningless talk or writing.” We also refer to jargon as nonprofit speak—words we use in our internal communications that accidentally end up in our external messaging.

Are you ready for the jargon worst-dressed list?

Here are our top 5 Jargon Don’ts! And you can download the new Drab-to-Fab ebook for more dos and don’ts for peer-to-peer fundraising.

  1. Self-donor: Yes, we want our participants to be donors. We may refer to an individual participant as a self-donor when planning an event, but cut this term from your messaging. Don’t leave your participants wondering what it means to be a self-donor. Simply ask them to be a donor.
  1. Self-donation: We thought it was important to call out this one too. During the registration process, don’t ask your participants to make a self-donation. What does that even mean? Instead, ask participants to make a donation when they register.
  1. Participant center: Yes, that’s what we call it. But do participants understand that this tool allows them to fundraise online? How about changing the name to “Your Online Fundraising Center?” Using “your” indicates to participants that the participant center belongs to them. Kudos to the American Diabetes Association®! We love “Your Step Out Center.”
  1. Updated personal page: This is a badge don’t. This doesn’t mean anything to your participants. Be creative and try badge names like storyteller, editor, author, composer, or biographer.
  1. Email sender: This is another badge don’t. Personal page visitors do not know what it means to send emails. How about using “I asked for donations” instead?

What are you waiting for? Download the new Drab-to-Fab ebook and turn your program into a peer-to-peer fundraising do!

p2p banner ad


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

Get nonprofit articles, best practice advice, fundraising ideas and invaluable industry reports and webinars delivered for free!