Who Do You Represent?
In giving to a specific group, they are expressing themselves through the work that you do. Their image of self is bundled with how they direct their giving. When they give to your organization, that's a reflection of who they are — or who they aspire to be. Now, just how are you reinforcing their stories of identity?
As a teenager, I remember that Amnesty International left a really big impression on me. The universal desire for freedom is a story that meant something. Perhaps the MTV-style celebrity concerts helped bring the issue to my awareness. Fast-forward to a couple years back — I decided to join as a member. Yet in the course of the following 12 months, Amnesty did a masterful job of completely driving me away from its organization. Its historic message of freedom seemed to have morphed into a dystopian vision of the future. While I still believed in the larger cause, Amnesty's angry view of the world was a far cry from my own. Needless to say, I've yet to renew my contribution. And my letter of feedback to the organization's president went unanswered. What's the lesson for you?
- How do you communicate the philosophy of your organization?
- Does your ethos speak to a narrower or mainstream audience?
- What might you do to evolve your story for greater relevance?
As the saying goes, "The most important things are choosing what's most important." That's why you need to clearly articulate your values — in a manner that attracts more people into the mix.
3) Are you for real?
There are plenty of "worthy" causes. Yet increasingly donors question what organizations are "worthy" of contribution. We all know that duplication and inefficiency are rampant throughout the sector. People more and more question where their money is going and whether they're making the right choices. Being "for real" requires that you demonstrate your authenticity and legitimacy. More than just numbers, it means that you are judged for your knowledge, trust and social capital.