I often tell people that no one cares about their organizations. Ouch, those words sound really harsh. I don’t mean them to be, but in the minds of your donors and the general public, no one really cares about whether or not your organization exists.
What they do care about is the work of the organization—who you are serving and what you are doing for them!
There are some simple things that you can do to help people care about your organization and to see it as a vital, necessary entity in your community —
- Tell stories. People connect to stories about other people because stories connect our hearts. People give to and volunteer for organizations that touch their heart, not necessarily to those who touch their brains. In other words, statistics and numbers, unless put in a context of individual people, are not enough.
Collect stories about those you serve on a regular basis. Be sure to remove all identifying information—make up names, etc. to protect the privacy of those you serve.
- Think about the person you are talking with. So often, we say the same things about our organizations to everyone. And while we need consistency in our messaging, our message also needs to be individualized. We need to find out what the person in front of us is interested in, what their needs are. This must be a priority! You have about 5 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they tune you out.
- Who needs to know about the work you are doing? It may be true that everyone needs to know about the work you are doing, but honestly, your work is going to appeal to certain groups of people. Spend time identifying who those people are and then reaching them. Who is in your target audience?
One of the best practices in reaching people is creating an avatar for the people you want to reach. An avatar is a visual representation of the “typical” person you want to reach. Think about who they — is this person a male or a female? What is their age? What are their interests? The more information you can use to create this avatar, the easier it will be to determine how best to reach them.
- Create trigger responses. We have all been in social situations or other environments where we hear people talking about some issue or concern they have. When you hear someone mention an issue that your organization solves, that should trigger your response. Think about how your organization addresses the topic and mention it. Creating trigger responses in advance will ensure you are prepared and ready with a response when the opportunity arises.
Everything you say and do has to focus on the individual you are speaking with, instead of what your organization is doing. Honestly, no one cares if your staff are paid, if the lights stay on, etc. Instead, they care about how you are making a difference in the lives of those you serve.
How can we help you? Do you need help in your communications strategy? We can build an avatar profile for you!