Tell me about yourself. What do you do?

This question seems to hover over me.

And no matter how many times a week I’m asked it, I feel like I always start off with “Well…..I’m….” (obviously unprepared?). Sometimes, ok most of the time, I follow up my stuttering with some sort of self-depreciating humor about the work I’m trying to do, or I simply say I’m the middle child of three girls and expect that to really say it all. Even though I know where I came from, what I do, and where I hope to be 10 years from now, my typical response does little to paint any sort of picture of who I really am or the work I wake up day in and day out to do.

I’m doing myself an injustice.

But I don’t think I’m alone. I know there are many nonprofits that, when asked the question, struggle to describe their work – an even bigger injustice. It goes beyond memorizing an elevator pitch or mission statement. It’s about being able to speak with confidence and conviction about the value of what you do, the impact of every dollar raised or volunteer hour spent. It’s about answering the question in a way that invites and inspires the person asking to join you. It’s about never missing an opportunity to gain a supporter.

Speaking of opportunities..

Here’s This Week’s Roundup of Thoughtful Nonprofit Advice:

  • Interactive technology investments are projected to grow across the nonprofit sector this year by 11% or more. As the economy continues to recover and online fundraising outpaces other development efforts, it’s important that you’re armed with the right tool set. Danielle Johnson’s npENGAGE post, The Fail-Safe Guide to Pitching Technology to Your Nonprofit Stakeholders, is your ticket to winning leadership support.
  • All volunteers are crucial to the success of your nonprofit, but Nonprofit Hub’s Lincoln Arneal has a few ideas about recruiting one generation of supporters in particular: Millinneals. The article  Why You Should Recruit Millennials to Boost Your NPO  dives into the key benefits of targeting this cause-focused group and provides first-hand insight into how to do so correctly.
  • Writer’s Blocked? Don’t be! Read this…It’s a guest post by Andy Duchow on Pamela Grow’s blog that will inspire those that sit down to write a donor communication and struggle to find the words to start. Instead of searching for the perfect opening sentence, try talking onto the page. Imagine that you’re talking face to face with your donor and just let it flow. Don’t worry about perfection – you can edit later. Then.. Read. Revise. Repeat.
  • Getting supporter feedback throughout the year is important. What’s working and what’s not? But the method in which you gather this information must be thoughtful and demonstrate that you care about what your donors think. So, What Questions Do You Include in Donor Surveys? More importantly, Kivi Leroux Miller poses, what questions shouldn’t you ask?
  • There’s an overpopulation of brochures in the world, and Jeff Brooks has a solution. Why you should probably trash your general brochure – you know, the waste of paper that brags and focuses on what you don’t do and undermines fundraising altogether. It’s time to stop wasting your time and money. Either trash it or start bragging about your donors instead. That would be the kind of brochure worth hanging onto.

What did you see this week that inspired you?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeline Turner is the Online and Social Marketing Manager at Blackbaud. Prior to running Blackbaud’s social media and thought leadership blog npENGAGE, Madeline worked as a Managing Editor for Blackbaud’s Content Marketing program. It is her goal to create content and share ideas that challenge the status quo of the nonprofit industry. When Madeline isn’t tweeting or writing blog posts, you can find her drinking coffee out of her ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ mug, wearing giant headphones and singing off-key.

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