Helping Nonprofits Communicate

message. solicit. impact.

Messaging: On the Road

I’ve been on the road the last five days making the trek from Florida to Utah to open our new west coast NMS office.  Messaging has been on my mind quite a bit.  Each new state we enter has a specific feel and message.  I’ve taken to reading the “welcome to ____” signs, looking at the license plates and chatting with locals at our stops along the way. What I love is each state is extremely unique and there are a ways the state communicates to you without even trying….. good example happened on Sunday when we were trekking across the plains of Texas into the mesas of New Mexico.  We had stopped at Cadillac Ranch in Texas (very cool) which is about as flat and barren as you get and driven west.

My husband and dogs walking towards Cadillac Ranch

Me with my Goldendoodle, Piper.

The land was flat and the view was never-ending. You can see as far as your eyes will take you.  Very VERY different from our landscape in the south.  When all of the sudden there were hills…and scrub brush… and varying levels of dirt.

image thanks to Wikipedia

 

My two daughters immediately went “wait, Mom, I thought Texas was flat!” To which we replied “you’re right, it is…we must be near New Mexico” and I kid you not immediately the “Welcome to New Mexico!” sign popped up on the righthandside.  We all laughed.

It got me thinking… what ways do organizations communicate without even trying?  There were distinct personality traits for the land in Texas and when it changed unexpectedly we all noticed. This little tidbit taught to us by nature can be looked at in two ways:

1) What way does your organization make people feel? What way do they “just know” its your organization versus someone else? Are you doing a good job of organically creating an atmosphere that is congruent with your mission? (think “Everything is bigger in Texas…. even the plains!”)

2) On the flipside, is anything disjointed in your current communication that makes people feel “off.” Just like the NM mesas started popping up and my children felt odd and it made them say “wait… something is wrong…I thought Texas didn’t have hills..” Are your programs in alignment with your mission? Are the words and actions from your staff in alignment with the message you are sending to the community? OR is there something that makes people stop and say “wait… I thought this organization helped ___ with ___.  Why are they ___?”

Who knew deep thoughts could come in the desert plains of Texas?

More from the road soon…. You can follow along my family’s trip across country and see pictures on Facebook or #nmsheadswest on twitter.

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