It’s all about the impact but is it impactful?

  • noun: the effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another.
  • verb: .
    come into forcible contact with another object; have a strong effect on someone or something.
  • adjective: having a major impact or effect.

I can remember a terrific former boss I worked with about fifteen years ago who sometimes used the word “impactful” to explain his vision for our programs and services. It was inspiring, as both a coworker and a donor, to hear him describe where we were headed in the context of being “more impactful” in our work.

Yet the word impactful sometimes gets a bad rap.

“I notice the word, and I don’t especially like it.” -Anne Curzan

Grammarians usually loathe it.

I like the word (big surprise). I believe the words “impact” and “impactful” serve an important purpose in our narrative, particularly when communicating with stakeholders about the work we do.

A word that has been around since at least the late 1950s, today impactful frequently shows up on social media sites. The next time you visit Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, check out the hashtag #impactful for a little inspiration.

Is impactful better said than read, or will you just stick with the word impact?


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