unify with your why

Does it feel like you’re saying the same thing time and time again, but the message isn’t getting through? And we’re not talking about those you work with (we’re not gonna get into that) – we are talking about your donors.

unify the message

The thing is, you may be communicating the same message consistently, but is everyone else inside your organization sharing the same message? Studies have shown that people need to see a message at least seven times before it sinks in. (source) 

A donor needs to see your message an average of 7 times for it to resonate with them. 

If your event, print, and digital communications are being created by different people, there’s a good chance your donor is hearing completely different messages, and even worse, not retaining any of it. 

How do you avoid this? Easy. Determine your why.

This one idea gets at the heart of why your organization does what it does. Not you – your organization. Keep that in mind. No matter who is saying it – whether it’s you, the executive director, board member, volunteer coordinator, etc. – everyone is communicating the same why. 

The why is absolutely critical to your communications. Think of it as a theme woven throughout all of your messaging. It motivates your staff, donors, and volunteers. It attracts a person to an organization. 

So how do you determine your why?  Good question. Think about why your organization does what it does. Perhaps a few examples will help. Let’s start with one most everyone will recognize. 

nike

For more than 30 years, just do it  has been Nike’s why. No matter a person’s abilities – or lack thereof – they want you to feel inspired to go for it. Just do it. The beauty of their why is that it extends beyond athletics and into everyday life. 

Preparing to run a marathon at 80 years old? Just do it.
Make the game-winning shot – from your wheelchair? Just do it.
Want to be the first female to coach your team to a Superbowl win? Just do it. 

These moments inspire everyone to just do it. It motivates them to take the next step. To go back to school or quit their dead-end job. This why is what makes Nike’s messaging so successful 30+ years later.  

So let’s bring this to a nonprofit level.

abvi

Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ABVI) helps those with significant vision loss live their best life. But how do you say that in a way that’s unique and memorable?   

     I lost my sight, not my vision.

It gets at the idea that life isn’t over for someone living with vision loss. A person can still live life to the fullest and achieve their dreams.

70×7 life recovery

70×7 Life Recovery wants men and women to see themselves loved by God after they’re released from jail or prison. Their why?

     Freed for life

Every one of their programs – job training, mentoring, family support, etc. – exist to help a person be freed for life by staying out of incarceration and living in the love of Jesus Christ.

repetition is key

Once you’ve established your why, it needs to be evident in everything you say. It’s the element that unifies your messaging.  Do you have a newsletter? The name of the newsletter can reflect this theme. ABVI named their newsletter Vision.  Make it obvious on the headlines of your webpage. 70×7’s mentoring webpage headline is Freed to Lead

And, YES, it’s okay to use the same content across numerous communication platforms. Remember, a message needs to be seen an average of 7 times before it inspires action. This is exactly the type of consistency that’s needed to unify your messaging so donors actually hear, and more importantly, remember your message. 

So what’s your why?
Not sure? Let’s team up to figure it out.

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