Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grow, Part 2 of 13

Step 96.
Photo of New York City, Time Square
Don’t be ignored. YOUR mission is imperative. Yet you settle and are comfortable in familiarity. Amongst thunderous marketing noise and distraction, your old story is but a whisper in the wind.

Some expert told you to “Spend more money on marketing and gain more market share.” Their first advice should have been “Fix your storytelling!” An underwhelming story is simply throwing donor entrusted funds into a scorching hot furnace. Before your aging tale reaches the bed of burning coals of bad marketing ideas, it’s ablaze. Gone and remembered only by you.

Case in point, charities who make Super Bowl television commercials, will find themselves sifting in the dark, smoldering ash. “LOOK AT US!” ads are always met with “We see you, so what?” Effective storytelling does not begin with me-ism.Photo of dark smoldering ash burning money

Be wise. Take concepts under advisement. Ask yourself how a particular idea may fit or be tested before declaring it the next great organizational savior. You may hear, “We tested orange vs. green and orange won.” Well, what are you to do if you are Greenpeace? Nothing, because this concept does not transfer for them and thousands of other charities with icons designed in green. This example is obvious but most others are less apparent and come with perilous consequences.

Bad ideas replicate as easy as good ones. However, they differ in price paid.
Embrace six storytelling principles and succeed beyond your dreams. First, establish rationale for existence. Relate the problem you are solving. Is it better or worse since you began? Don’t assume people know anything. Re-tell your reason for being. A few brave charities that will travel this path may discover their mission is accomplished and they are no longer necessary. They’ll need to refocus on a new vision!

Second, explain what you are doing now. Has the issue evolved? Present how you’ve evolved. Innovative breakthroughs win the day. Partner and maximize impact. What do you know NOW that you didn’t at the beginning? How do you see it ending? What is the window of opportunity? Show the barriers of the problem. How are you uniquely going to solve it? Keep in mind, people give to similar organizations so the only way to stand out is to lead with your unique qualities and approaches.

Third, remember it is not all about you. Nothing significant can be done alone. Many nonprofits fail to understand this principle. It is the one which all great charities do well.

Engage and grow.
Engagement equals a level of commitment by you and them.

Invite engagement by presenting your constituents as part of the solution. Be open. Be flexible. Allow yourself to evolve. Be more human and less corporate. Serious causes call for serious exhilaration.

There are five ways a person can engage with your organization and there can be multiple levels of engagement within each one.
1. A person can give of their time.
2. A person can give of their talent.
3. A person can lead their name and influence.
4. A person can give you resources, such as gifts-in-kind.
5. A person can give you money.
Be creative and develop many points of engagement, nearly everyone can do something for your cause and most can do many.
Fourth, almost every single successful fundraising effort has a compelling offer at the core of its strategy. Sadly the reverse is true as well . . . the fundraising efforts that fail either do not have an offer at all or it is presented from the least inspirational perspective.

The following is an example of a fundraising offer as well as the fundraising equation.

“Education is empowerment. Your gift of $105 will send one African child to school for an entire year. Please help empower a child today.”

The Fundraising Offer Equation:

Image of The Fundraising Offer Equation
$105 = $1,000,000 + $260,000 ÷ 12,000 children a year

O = Offer
P = Program
B = Budget (Annual)
A = Administrative
C = Cost
L = Lives
I = Impacted
T = Time

Fifth, explain why it is critical for your constituent to act immediately. Create urgency. There is too much noise and competition for attention and money to let someone put down your communication piece with good intentions to get to it later. Urgency is a difference maker. People give to where it is needed most.

Sixth, articulate what society would be like without you. At times, charities are the only stop-gap for their particular cause. Educate us. Cast a vision polar opposite of what you dare to achieve. Gloom and doom perhaps, but slap us with reality and we will notice.

Take your big vision and tell it well.

Giver's Take. I love hearing about your innovative solutions to tackle our high school drop out rate
Step 97. Grow, Part 3 of 13

No comments: