Friday, May 16, 2014

BIG’s Blog: Your Story

Politicians ultimately only have one thing to sell to the voters and that is themselves . . . but the voters want to know what a politician stands for. Sometimes the issue and the politician’s position are straightforward and simple, but other times the issue is complex. The most successful politicians know how to connect with their constituents by simplifying the most complex issue into a story . . . a story of how the issue and the politician’s stand on it will affect the lives of their constituents. They tell stories, and in the end, it is the narrative (the story) the politician lays out that people actually vote for … under the guise of voting for the politician.

Not-for-profits in general and charities in particular need to act in the same way. A politician’s “issue” is the charity’s “mission or ministry.” The charity must tell their story about how they “do” mission or ministry and what it means to the person listening or reading their story. Their story either connects or doesn’t … when people hear it. People will support a charity if they connect to its story.

Stories used to be passed by word of mouth around the fire.  Stories were then passed through the written word and, later, the printed word. Then came the technology of capturing sound, and finally film. Today our digital-based Internet world is “all the above,” and stories are carried through all kinds of channels.

But it still comes down to the story.

When people hear about your organization for the first time, what they really want to know is this: What is your story?

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