Brand Standards  |  Written Standards

Messaging Tips

Avoid Jargon

When describing CARE’s work, avoid the phrases “international relief,” “development organization," “development work” and “development programs.” The general public doesn’t understand what these phrases mean. Describe CARE by using the boilerplates, “Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty” and use phrases like “lasting solutions to poverty” or “poverty-fighting” instead of development. Avoid using acronyms when communicating with external audiences.

 

Our Commitment to Dignity

Never describe CARE project participants in ways contradicting CARE’s commitment to the dignity of all people. Words like “needy,” “helpless,” “hopeless” and “destitute” should be avoided. Following a disaster or crisis, refer to people as “survivors” rather than “victims.” As much as possible, describe people as “seeking to become self-reliant,” “building better lives and brighter futures for themselves” and “working alongside CARE to solve their most threatening problems.” “Poor people” and “poor communities” are also acceptable, but do not use “the poor.”

 

Participants, Not Recipients

The people CARE serves should be described and depicted as “participants” instead of as “beneficiaries” or “recipients.” If ”participant” does not translate well, use what works best. The most important issue is to depict the people CARE serves with respect and dignity.

When describing CARE’s activities, use phrases that reinforce CARE’s partnership with participants. For example, phrases like “CARE helps to strengthen communities …” and “CARE works with communities to …” communicate partnership and team work. By contrast, phrases like “CARE provides …” “CARE brings …” and “CARE builds …” can depict CARE project participants as passive recipients. Use these terms cautiously.

 

Communicating Our Strategic Focus

It is essential for our messaging to make clear that CARE is a global poverty-fighting organization and that our strategy for fighting poverty centers on girls’ and women’s empowerment. When communicating the role of a girl or woman in our poverty-fighting efforts, we must take care to explain that she is a catalyst who creates ripples of positive change that lift up everyone around her, including other girls, women, boys and men. This message does not place a new burden of responsibility on a girl or a woman. It is also inclusive of boys and men.

 

Communicating Sensitive Issues

CARE is an independent, non-political organization. When communicating about sensitive or controversial issues, use extreme caution so as not to endanger the lives of the people we serve or our staff – or negatively affect our reputation, programs or relationships with governments, partners or donors. Although CARE does not have an exhaustive list of sensitive topics as they change quickly and vary from country to country, common controversial topics include conflict or war, security issues, political events and social issues such as abortion. For more information about CARE’s protocols and procedures for communicating around sensitive issues, please contact Clare Spurrell at spurrell@careinternational.org or Monica Rowe at monica.rowe@care.org.

 

 

Idealistic and Realistic

CARE’s vision is of a world without extreme poverty. However, existing and potential donors have told us that this seems like an impossibly distant goal. It hurts CARE’s credibility to focus our message on something that seems like an unattainable goal to many people.

To help people understand our mission, it’s essential to describe our work using realistic language and contexts. Instead of talking about “eradicating global poverty,” focus on “achieving victories over poverty.” Tell stories about successful program participants and how their personal successes ripple outward to families and entire communities. Tell stories illustrating the step-by-step process of reducing poverty over the long term.

 

Focus on Today and the Future

Our informational and promotional materials should focus on our recent, current and planned work. Don’t focus on CARE’s past. Instead, use CARE’s history as a quick bridge to discussing our current work. Example: “Our 75 years of experience informs our mission of fighting poverty in the world’s poorest communities by empowering girls and women.”

 

Know Your Audience

CARE’s work deals with complex issues, but our public and interpersonal communication should be simple and direct. Most audiences don’t need to understand every detail of a project or a program. Jargon and unnecessary detail are off-putting. Compelling human interest stories, photos and videos are a better way of telling our story to the public than complicated, opaque reports.

Brand Standards  |  Written Standards

Messaging Tips

Messaging Tips  |  Standard Language to Describe CARE's Work  |  Protecting CARE's Brand Work

Avoid Jargon

When describing CARE’s work, avoid the phrases “international relief,” “development organization," “development work” and “development programs.” The general public doesn’t understand what these phrases mean. Describe CARE by using the boilerplates, “Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty” and use phrases like “lasting solutions to poverty” or “poverty-fighting” instead of development. Avoid using acronyms when communicating with external audiences.

 

Our Commitment to Dignity

Never describe CARE project participants in ways contradicting CARE’s commitment to the dignity of all people. Words like “needy,” “helpless,” “hopeless” and “destitute” should be avoided. Following a disaster or crisis, refer to people as “survivors” rather than “victims.” As much as possible, describe people as “seeking to become self-reliant,” “building better lives and brighter futures for themselves” and “working alongside CARE to solve their most threatening problems.” “Poor people” and “poor communities” are also acceptable, but do not use “the poor.”

 

Participants, Not Recipients

The people CARE serves should be described and depicted as “participants” instead of as “beneficiaries” or “recipients.” If ”participant” does not translate well, use what works best. The most important issue is to depict the people CARE serves with respect and dignity.

When describing CARE’s activities, use phrases that reinforce CARE’s partnership with participants. For example, phrases like “CARE helps to strengthen communities …” and “CARE works with communities to …” communicate partnership and team work. By contrast, phrases like “CARE provides …,” “CARE brings …” and “CARE builds …” can depict CARE project participants as passive recipients. Use these terms cautiously.

 

Communicating Our Strategic Focus

It is essential for our messaging to make clear that CARE is a global poverty-fighting organization and that our strategy for fighting poverty centers on girls’ and women’s empowerment. When communicating the role of a girl or woman in our poverty-fighting efforts, we must take care to explain that she is a catalyst who creates ripples of positive change that lift up everyone around her, including other girls, women, boys and men. This message does not place a new burden of responsibility on a girl or a woman. It is also inclusive of boys and men.

 

Communicating Sensitive Issues

CARE is an independent, non-political organization. When communicating about sensitive or controversial issues, use extreme caution so as not to endanger the lives of the people we serve or our staff – or negatively affect our reputation, programs or relationships with governments, partners or donors. Although CARE does not have an exhaustive list of sensitive topics as they change quickly and vary from country to country, common controversial topics include conflict or war, security issues, political events and social issues such as abortion. For more information about CARE’s protocols and procedures for communicating around sensitive issues, please contact Clare Spurrell at spurrell@careinternational.org or Monica Rowe at monica.rowe@care.org.

 

Idealistic and Realistic

CARE’s vision is of a world without extreme poverty. However, existing and potential donors have told us that this seems like an impossibly distant goal. It hurts CARE’s credibility to focus our message on something that seems like an unattainable goal to many people.

To help people understand our mission, it’s essential to describe our work using realistic language and contexts. Instead of talking about “eradicating global poverty,” focus on “achieving victories over poverty.” Tell stories about successful program participants and how their personal successes ripple outward to families and entire communities. Tell stories illustrating the step-by-step process of reducing poverty over the long term.

 

Focus on Today and the Future

Our informational and promotional materials should focus on our recent, current and planned work. Don’t focus on CARE’s past. Instead, use CARE’s history as a quick bridge to discussing our current work. Example: “Our 75 years of experience informs our mission of fighting poverty in the world’s poorest communities by empowering girls and women.”

 

Know Your Audience

CARE’s work deals with complex issues, but our public and interpersonal communication should be simple and direct. Most audiences don’t need to understand every detail of a project or a program. Jargon and unnecessary detail are off-putting. Compelling human interest stories, photos and videos are a better way of telling our story to the public than complicated, opaque reports.

Always Remember:

The CARE name appears as ALL CAPS in text.