February 2017 Newsletter 

Clap your hands for volunteer Donna Creason!

We’re spotlighting Donna in this newsletter for her commitment and creativity as a volunteer. Donna led the creation of the Center’s first eBook, titled, “Clear Communication with Clear Results: How to start a plain language program where you work.”

Offered free to new members, the 62-page book is chock full of stories and tips from five organizations that tackled the big effort: To bring simplicity to industries as diverse as healthcare, tax administration, government, professional services and nonprofit work.

Beyond Donna’s skills and experience, other volunteers on the project described her as a great leader, someone quick with praise and thanks, giving tangible and constructive feedback, always positive in her outlook and always keeping the team energized and excited to meet our deadlines.

“The Center’s first eBook now tops my ‘Favorite Projects’ list,” Donna said. “When you work on a project that you know is for a good cause and you get to do it with an amazing team, it doesn’t get much better than that. Definitely a win-win.”

Donna is President and CEO of Summit Publication Design, LLC, a tech-creative design and development company focused on independent publishing and proposal development.

Thank you, Donna, for leading the Center’s first effort with book publishing. The Center depends on volunteers like you!

If you want to volunteer, like Donna, and be a part of your Center, tell us how you want to be involved at centerforplainlanguage@gmail.com.


You’ll want to be in Washington, DC, on May 9!

Now that your entries are in for the ClearMark Awards, it’s time to make plans to attend the event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on May 9. And there are many reasons to do so. Not only does the awards reception and dinner give you a great chance to network with other plain language advocates and professionals, but you’ll get to see the best of the best from your colleagues around the country. Plus, the evening is just plain fun!

Choose how you want to help

The Center needs sponsorships, as well as in-kind contributions, for the ClearMark event, such as printing, or table decorations or flowers. Please email centerforplainlanguage@gmail.com if you can help with financial or in-kind support. Any amount is appreciated!

And since you’re coming to DC, make a day of it!

That afternoon, May 9, plan to attend a workshop with Dona Wong, author of “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics” and former graphics director at The Wall Street Journal. The topic of the workshop—for Center members and friends—is how to use data to enhance your message.

Now vice president and head of digital strategy at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Dona is an expert in conceptualizing and producing information graphics that millions of demanding readers can easily understand. She has advised Fortune 500 companies and major government agencies on strategic communications. Dona received her MFA in information design from Yale, where Edward Tufte, a pioneer in the field of data visualization, was her thesis advisor. Read more about her: http://donawong.com/


Dona will show us:

–How to turn data into a compelling, persuasive story.
–How to use graphics effectively in your presentations.
–The Dos and Don’ts of information graphics: common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

The workshop will start with networking from 12-12:30 and continue until 3:30. Watch centerforplainlanguage.org for more details soon. As always, Center members can register at a discount.


Make YOUR mark on ClearMark next year

Speaking of ClearMark, our fabulous co-chairs, Meghan Codd Walker and Deanna Lorianni, are seeking volunteers to shadow them now as the event draws closer. If you are good at event planning, are organized, can handle details and see the big picture, and like to have fun, join the team! You’ll have plenty of support. Meghan and Deanna have written the playbook on the ClearMark Awards, which will make it that much easier for their successors. What a great opportunity to support plain language, work with amazing people, and help stage an inspiring event!  Please email centerforplainlanguage@gmail.com to volunteer or to get more information.


Center volunteer shines Clarity light on fine print

The Center for Plain Language recently partnered with a sister organization, Clarity, to produce issue No. 75 of The Clarity Journal, a biannual publication that is the leading source of plain language news and research from around the world. Clarity, with more than 650 members in more than 50 countries, is a network of professionals who promote clear legal language.

Center for Plain Language board member Julie Clement is the journal editor-in-chief. But for this issue, she had help from Center volunteer and guest editor Barbra Kingsley, PhD, from Kleimann Communication Group. The theme of this issue is “the fine print,” which most of us ignore. You’ll learn from a variety of experts why it matters, and how to make it clear. Among the authors are lawyers, government and business representatives, and plain language experts, such as Lynda Harris.

In her introduction, Barbra writes: “Shining a light on this dark corner of fine print are several incredible professionals who have agreed to share their insights in this issue, which is the brainchild of the Center for Plain Language.”

You’ll want to read the journal, which will be available later this month and is for members only. Get a copy by joining Clarity for $35:  http://www.clarity-international.net/ The journal is available to the public 2 years after it is published. 


Learn about accessibility from an expert

The Center is teaming with accessibility expert David Berman to offer a ½ day online course on June 14: The New Standard on Accessibility: WCAG 2.0 

David’s commitment is to design a better world that leaves no one behind. “Web and document accessibility for people with disabilities is our most practical example of how doing good is also good business,” David says on the website for David Berman Communications. Governments in four countries, private sector companies, and NGOs use David’s strategies on what to do and how to do it—and he’ll share some of those during the online course.

David gave a workshop last year before the ClearMark Awards in Washington—but now his expertise will be available to anyone, no matter where you are. Register here: https://www.davidberman.com/2017-june-14-accessibility-course/  You’ll see that Center members get a significant discount.


Here’s an easy way to support the Center 

Sign up to help the Center for Plain Language on smile.amazon.com. You can choose the Center to receive donations from eligible purchases you make. It’s not a big donation, but if all members designate the Center as their recipient so Amazon donates every time we buy something, it adds up. This is a painless way to donate to the Center—and every penny counts!