Category Archives: Communications

Why?

When my daughter was young, I didn’t appreciate the seemingly endless why questions she asked. But today I appreciate the why. It is integral to making an inspiring case for a cause.

Yesterday I watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on How great leaders inspire action. The talk is 18 minutes long and well worth the investment of time. I encourage you to watch it. If you are in a rush, fast forward to the 15 minute mark; that’s where he brings in a nonprofit example.

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My top four remedies to cure writer’s block.

At times, the words dance off my keyboard and other times I gaze on a blank screen for an embarrassingly long time. The latter is particularly problematic when a deadline is looming. One does not often have the luxury of waiting around for the writer’s block to cure itself, as a sniffly nose might. So, what to do to remedy the block? Here are my top four cures:   Continue reading

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How to write an inspiring case for a less-than inspiring vision.

Case for SupportThe other day, I read an interesting piece on the Donor Dreams Blog titled, Don’t set the  bar too high for your next fundraising appeal. This post resonated with me, as I am working on a project that involves defining and articulating a vision for a client organization. We are walking a fine line between creating a vision that has donor appeal while at the same time is reachable and do-able for the organization. Continue reading

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How to talk so donors listen

One of the things I love about my work is seeing the sparkle in a client’s eyes when they talk about their work. I am thinking of one individual, in particular, who speaks with such passion about the connection she has with her donors. I can see that she derives real satisfaction from explaining the impact of a gift in ways that really gets through to the donor. The client I’m speaking of is a gifted fundraiser. She has intuition on her side. But that’s only part of it.Case for Support Blog_How to talk so donors listen

Talking so donors listen begins by listening, listening for what they value.

People give to advance the things they value. If a donor is looking to infuse his or her retirement years with purpose and meaning, a message about how a piece of medical equipment will reduce wait times will not resonate. The values are misaligned.

In the book The Realm of Rhetoric, Chaim Perelman (1912 – 1984), philosopher and rhetorician, identifies two kinds of values: Continue reading

How does an idea go from zero to a movement in six years?

Today is Pink Shirt Day. It used to be Pink Shirt Day in Vancouver. Now, six years in, people across Canada are taking a stand against bullying. I first heard about the anti-bullying initiative in 2008  on Vancouver-based radio station CKNW. (If you haven’t seen this year’s TV commercial, invest the 30 seconds. It’s brilliant. The link above will take you to it.)

My pink shirt.

My pink shirt.

How does an idea go from zero to this in six years? Some organizations work for multiple decades and achieve less awareness. Here are some observations about Pink Shirt Day’s communication strategy:

  1. It’s relevant and timely.Leading up to the first Pink Shirt Day, bullying incidents had been covered significantly in the news. One story in particular provided impetus for the day. A Nova Scotia youth arrived for his first day of high school, wearing a pink polo shirt. He was mocked, but two grade 12 students, stunningly, sprung into action. (Follow the link above for more on the story.) This incident became a flash point. Clear across the country, in Vancouver, CKNW stepped up to draw attention to the issue and bring about change. 
  2. It has a single focus and a clear goal. The folks behind the day applied the tested-and-true Keep It Simple formula. (Notice they are not trying to raise funds and awareness.) Continue reading
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