Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nonprofit Messaging

I've heard several presentations from nonprofits this past year in different settings. They usually have an hour or perhaps two hours over a dinner to tell their story.

I've noticed that frequently, they fail to tell their story very well.

They might talk to or about people in the room or perhaps they'll tell some about their history. One presentation spent the whole hour interacting with some of the people attending who had prior contact with the organization. Another just told about the people who lead the organization in the past.

People of the non-profit world, listen. You must tell your core message, your core story every single time you are given a chance. There are likely some in the room who have never heard your story or who barely know about your mission. You can't assume all know and you can't ever, ever, ever give up an opportunity to tell your core message.

Tell why you exist. Tell why you are distinctive. Tell what your goals are. Tell what you've done.

Tell us a narrative about people impacted and tell us metrics and how you measure your results.

Share your story.

You should have a core 5-7 slides that you show every single time you get the chance.

I may never sit in the room and hear about you ever again.

PS. I wrote this last Saturday and Sunday, Andy talked to us at church about distractions. That is it. Organizations get distracted from their core. The clutter and muddle it up. Schools, churches, charities and people all get distracted.


  1. This is a great post and is so true. Nonprofits should never miss an opportunity to tell their story properly and coherently. They never know where that next donor or volunteer may be coming from. I passed this along to my contacts at City Rescue Mission and Regional Food Bank.

  2. Interesting. Could it be because of inexperience? I love it that so many young people are working for nonprofits but they should really be aware of their audience and yes, their core values.

  3. Agreed. Story is everything. And distractions are...... I smell coffee...