I was with an organization (to remain nameless) that had a super simple message but a really bad story. In talking with the group it was instantly apparent that their great message was trumped by a really bad story.
While the organization had a powerful, simple message on paper, the story I heard from several staff and board members was one about a long history of:
- ‘not fundraising’
- ‘yeah buts’
- program stigmas
I heard this again and again.
Many organizations run into this problem. When I say someone has a really bad story, I mean their 30,000’ (high altitude) NARRATIVE is not representing their transcendent PURPOSE, their VISION, ‘BHAGs,’ their audacity. (To be very clear: I speak of the gravitas that you already possess. I’m not encouraging you to make something up for messaging purposes.)
Let me tell you a different story about the same organization … all true.
- This ‘little charity’ generates $15M/year through several funding streams – including fundraising.
- It impacts over 8,000 families each year and completely changes … even SAVES the lives of scores of children who have been subjected to some of the worst atrocities imaginable.
- People come from all over the world to work with this team of inspired and innovative leaders, counselors and program managers.
This organization needed to embrace the power of story … of their GREAT story. Your story is what you are. YOU tell your story. It can be ‘Eeyyore-ish’ or awesome.
Here’s a GREAT TOOL for DISCOVERING your BEST STORY:
Write down, in bullet-point-form, the things that get you REALLY FIRED UP about your organization. Connect the dots (literally) and you have the start of a pretty good story.
We did this exercise with the organization mentioned above. THEY were the ones to generate the compelling storylines above!
The process illustrates how they already owned both stories. We didn’t come in from the outside, for instance, and try to write a new story. To be the best STORYTELLER, you obviously need to be AUTHENTIC! You need to ‘own’ your story.
This is huge.
Story creates reality.
Sit down with your team to DISCOVER your BEST stories. Let us know if you need more help. In our teleseminars and training we:
- Share examples of stories used at organizations that ENGAGE people and help GET TO THE ASK.
- Address common challenges to funding, action and engagement – your STORY makes a big difference.
- Give you several actionable tools use can use to DISCOVER your story and make it AWESOME.