When someone asks you what your organization does, what do you say? Do you trip over your words? Do you default to reciting some version of your mission statement?
For a long time, whenever this happened to me, I regurgitated the mission statement that had been perfectly crafted by the nonprofit board of directors of which I was a member.
As it turns out, I sounded like a robot when I simply recited the mission statement. Nothing was wrong with the wording of the mission. Rather, a mission statement is, by nature, a formal piece of copywriting. It doesn’t necessarily roll off your tongue in conversation. A little tweaking is in order.
I will share an easy 3-step formula so you will be able to speak in a breezy and confident manner about what your organization does, who it serves, and why.
Encourage further dialogue with a rich conversation starter
In his 2016 book, The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand out from the Crowd, Allan Dib aptly points out that bad marketing is self-focused. Good marketing, however, is customer and problem/solution focused – taking your prospect by the hand to state the problem, its solution, and the proof.
I have applied what I learned in Dib’s book to the nonprofit sector.
Here is the nifty 3-step formula for crafting an effective and meaningful way to respond when someone says, “What does your organization do?.” You can impress and encourage further dialogue about your cause with this simple formula:
You know [person & problem]? Well, what we do is [solution]. In fact, [proof].
Here are 3 examples to illustrate this formula applied the nonprofit sector.
Example 1 – What Does Your Organization Do?
You know how oftentimes children of low-income families come home to an empty house after school because their parents are working?
Well, what we do is provide subsidized after school programs. Children are in a safe environment and engaged in enriching activities.
In fact, last week a teacher told me that since admitted into this program, two of her once-struggling students are now turning in homework consistently! They have raised their grades from Cs and Ds to As and Bs.
Example 2 -What Does Your Organization Do?
You know how access to clean water is a major problem for many families in many parts of Africa?
Well, we are breaking the cycle of sickness and poverty in the Central African Republic by drilling wells. We partner with the local communities to maintain the wells, too.
In fact, last month we trained 25 community technicians in the surrounding areas of Bangui, and they have already visited each site to do preventative maintenance. Meanwhile, hundreds of families now have sustainable access to clean drinking water.
Example 3 -What Does Your Organization Do?
You know how over 1 million abandoned and unwanted pets are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters each year because of a lack of resources?
Well, we fund programs at the county shelter that help save animals’ lives.
In fact, in the last three months, we fundraised for and promoted prepaid adoption fees for all the adult shelter animals. The result was a 50% increase in adoptions.
Now it’s your turn...
Answer “What does your organization do?” using this 3-step people & problem-solution-proof formula.
The next time you are asked, “What does your organization do?” you will have a meaningful conversation starter ready to pique their interest and connect more people to your good cause.