How to Not Be the Best Kept Secret in Your Community
Raising awareness is in the top five things every nonprofit organization wants. Or so they tell me. What they don’t know is how to not be the best kept secret in your community.
Allow your community to learn about how extraordinary you are through the eyes of someone else.
We’re taught to be humble. Don’t brag. But when someone else is sharing how he or she feels safe, healthy, supported or able to breath the clean air…because of your organization, it’s not bragging.
It’s about sharing what I call “mission moments.”
I define a mission moment as a short, inspirational example of your mission in action.
The goal of sharing a mission moment: to cause others to ask questions, because they want to know more.
Your intention: Tempt with a little bit of something powerful, rather than taking up so much of the conversation or copy that you lose the listener or reader.
Your Mission Moment Might Be…
A quote from a client, advocate, volunteer, donor, staff or board member.
“Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.”
“After meeting 16-year old Melvin, I see how my contribution is helping shape someone’s life. I couldn’t do that on my own. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a difference!”
“Testifying at the state capital was the single most petrifying and rewarding experience of my life. I’m so glad I did it.”
“I feel like I’m making a difference serving on the marketing committee and helping craft messages that have increased our social media engagement!”
A photo or short video that provides a very quick update about someone whose life has changed by your organization.
Causevox and Classy have some excellent video examples if you need inspiration.
The Center for Victims of Torture, KIVA, and Charity:water have excellent photo (and story) examples.
The very best way to share a mission moment is to have someone, other than staff, share their thoughts about you and how you and your work makes them feel.
Invite others to talk about you in two minutes or less. (Less is always better.)
Use these as mission-moment “starter” phrases:
My life is better because of XYZ organization because ____________________.
Their answer should include:
- How was life different before you?
- What happened when you connected with this person?
- What is life like now?
The single most important thing about XYZ organization is _________________.
Especially for advocacy and environmental organizations: Here’s how XYZ organization is changing lives, one person at a time ____________.
Allow your community to be surprised about the connections your organization creates or the unique way working at the animal shelter is helping someone who is feeling lonely.
Bringing your mission alive does not have to solely be the job of staff.
Bringing your mission alive happens more often than you might realize. It happens each day as your programs finish or during and after you hold an inspiring event.
To collect mission moments after events or at the end of the programming day takes some planning. But it doesn’t have to take much time. Invite the thoughts and feeling of attendees via conversation, email or phone follow-up; before they leave the room on a Post-It note; or have them send you a text message.
In our daily rush to get more done, most everyone I know is looking for some confirmation that they’ve done some good. Inviting others to share how your organization has made a difference allows them to feel great. And it provides you with sharable mission moments.
Recently, at the start of a fundraising retreat with a client, each person was invited to share what the single most important thing was about the organization. We listened as 13 people gave thoughtful, unique, inspiring examples of what was important to them.
That 15 minutes set the tone for a meaningful retreat that produced a powerful plan for success for the coming year. And provided quotes for social media, enews updates and future volunteer spotlight videos.
Don’t be the best kept secret in town. Invite your community to tell you (and others) about how terrific you are!
Lori L. Jacobwith, founder of Ignited Fundraising™, is a master storyteller and fundraising culture change expert. With a passion for the positive, she has provided coaching and training for more than 4,500 organizations and 500,000 people. Her work has helped nonprofits raise $300 million from individual donors… and counting.