Just Stop

Just Stop

Just Stop

How many times have you started an email or conversation with the following:

I just wanted to say…

I just wanted to ask…

This is just my opinion…

Just, as a word, has a few definitions, including an expression of fairness, a description of immediacy, and a capture of exactitude. But those definitions don’t work within the examples provided – what is going on here? How has this word morphed over time, and what are the implications in using it in this fashion?

As described in a recent blog post for Women 2.0, “just” has become synonymous for subordination. A quick way to show respect, but at the same time, weaken your message. And, more often than not, it is women who are using “just” in this fashion – damaging their delivery of opinions or questions.

From a nonprofit communications perspective, the potential harm of “just” is real. From fundraising emails, to relationship management, to volunteer recruitment, to board meetings, how many times have you used “just” when you didn’t need to? How could you have made your message stronger? What could have been a way to position yourself from a place of authority and strength, rather than of deference?

Our thoughts on “just” are just the beginning to our contributions this week – check the links below for more highlights.

  1. Nancy Schwartz of Network for Good shares why there should only be one call-to-action in emails.
  2. Looking for a donor relations data and insight – check out Lynne Wester of the Donor Relations Guru blog that highlights data from a recent donor relations survey whitepaper.
  3. Alex Daniels of the Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses why six major foundations called on their peers to share the racial and gender make-up of their boards and staff.
  4. On the technical side – an interesting read from Jason Tashea at Technical.ly that highlights companies that have open-sourced their technology.
  5. For your long read of the week, we recommend “The Surprising Alchemy of Passion and Science”, the transcript of a speech given by Lissette Rodriguez of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation at the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence’s tenth annual conference.

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