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These fundraising stock phrases have lost much of their punch.

Maybe one day they meant something. But now they’re used interchangeably across charities in different sectors – medical and health, overseas development, disability, youth, welfare. Pretty much any sector involving people.

What are these phrases?

You’ll know them (and their derivatives).

  1. Transforming lives (or changing lives)
  2. Saving lives
  3. Making a difference
  4. Having an impact
  5. Most vulnerable (or disadvantaged)
  6. Poorest of the poor
  7. Brighter future

Doubtless, you can think of more.

They are different to jargon in that they’ve probably been used effectively in the past. Samples of past successful fundraising campaigns indicate this is so. Whereas jargon has never been effective at raising money.

When you use these phrases exclusively in an appeal, you’re announcing to the world that you cannot specifically define your USP. You know the type of thing.

“Your gift today changes lives.”

“Make a difference today with your gift.”

“Will you help the world’s most vulnerable people?”

Uh, uh.

Today, if you want to differentiate yourself from other charities, I suggest you avoid making these stock phrases the cornerstone of your fundraising messages.

Use them sparingly. Or replace them completely if possible.

To achieve this, focus instead on the core services you offer. Find more creative ways to express their advantages for beneficiaries. That will take some thinking and tinkering.

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