As Development professionals, we are story tellers. We are deft and creative about sending messages to our supporters and prospects that generate a response. Our hope is that the messages we send will be so compelling that those that hear and receive it will respond by giving financially to our cause. This is a simplified description of the nature of our work.
It is good, right, and helpful to have the vision, mission, and history of our agency 100% dialed in. So much so, that we can do it in 30 seconds or 30 minutes. In an elevator, over dinner, at the podium, in a tweet, or in an appeal letter. And, if things are going well, we’re doing it over and over and over again.
There have been a few times in the last year when my schedule has been packed with donor visits, calls, and a host of speaking engagements. This is a good thing, but as a result of being away from the office so much, I became a little out of touch with what was happening on the ground. I realized that I was telling the same old story, and while it is a good story, I was reminded of the unique privilege and responsibility I have to ensure I’ve got new material.
In seasons like this, it becomes increasingly important for us to ensure that the narrative we are providing is fresh. New stories of progress. New evidences of the dollars that supporters are giving are doing amazing things. New confirmations that the mission of our agency is being actualized in real time and the vision we have is coming to fruition.
So, I came up with a few very simple strategies to ensure that I’ve got new material:
- Engage with those on the front line of our agencies and directly solicit stories of what’s happening now in the lives of those we are serving.
- Connect with volunteers and ask them what they are most excited about.
- Carefully investigate our monthly and quarterly service statistics to ensure I’m up to date.
- Take stock of what new partnerships are developing.
Depending upon the nature of the work our agencies are doing, there are likely many other ways to enliven and refresh the narrative we are developing with our network of support and prospects.
What are the ways that you keep the story fresh?
Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.