Would you be willing to help me pilot a new idea? Would you be willing to respond to the messaging of this proposal? What does and does not resonate with you? People love to give their input. And, if I may be so daring to say, nonprofits often do not ask for input. Over the last few weeks I’ve started a new strategy in creating new relationships. Instead of asking if I can talk with someone about the organization or a component of the organization, I’m asking for feedback and advice on a program, a case, or project of the organization.
The advantage of asking for someone’s point of view is the ability to refine the messaging of your case to really speak your donors and the community. The individual you speak with offers information about what is the most meaningful to them and what speaks the strongest. I always jump at the opportunity to learn a piece of someone’s story. When an individual’s personal story connects with your organization, this becomes a great start to a new relationship.
For a while I had been attempting to engage new friends of the organization by asking them if I could talk about them: what their interests are, why they give, how they first connected with the organization. But, I found that most people did not see the point or the value that they were adding to the organization. When I was clear about using the conversation as an opportunity to refine the messaging and approach of the organization, I was really surprised at the success of that kind of engagement.