Helping Nonprofits Communicate

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Five Tips for Telling Your Organization’s Story

Do you fundraise for your organization as a board or staff member? Have you given much thought to how you tell your nonprofit’s story in a succinct but compelling way during a conversation with a potential donor? Here are five tips for steering the conversation your organization’s way.

  • Let people know what you do and for what organization, but in a way that will interest them and encourage them to ask you to tell them more. Make what your nonprofit does a conversation starter.  What issue is your organization working to eradicate? What solution does your organization offer? What is changing because your organization is doing what it’s doing? For example, if your agency provides resume updates and employment readiness for the unemployed, what positive results are coming out of these trainings? Can you highlight a high success rate for your program graduates? How many are getting jobs as a direct result of what they’ve learned at your organization?
  • Make them want to ask how your organization does what it does. This is where you get to talk about programming. Does your organization offer a different take on after school programming than other similar outfits in your city? What benefits and successes are you having? How is what your organization does the key to getting a handle on a certain issue?
  • In sharing your organization’s story, what are you after? What’s your ultimate goal in talking up your organization? Are you in need of volunteers for a big event coming up? Are you ramping up for a capital campaign? Are you hosting a drive for certain supplies for your clients (diapers and formula, school supplies, etc.)? If the person you’re talking with wants to know how to help, can you make a direct request?
  • If your audience does seem interested in helping in some way, let them know what’s in it for them (a tax deduction, promotion of their business from a sponsorship opportunity or simply lending a hand in the community perhaps). Be clear and straightforward in your description and make sure it tells how others can help and the benefit they’ll receive from doing so.
  • Above all, show that you’re excited about your organization and what it’s doing, and your listener is more likely to become that way too. By engaging in a way that tells a story of need and how that need is being met, this storytelling will make for good conversation.

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