Imagine this: A neighbor invites you over for a casual backyard barbecue with a few of his friends. You’re having a great time and even enjoyed a couple glasses of wine on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. The party happens to be full of people you don’t know, and nearly everyone you meet asks what you do. Each time, you indicate having started a new job with a local start-up nonprofit called Fresh Produce. Their immediate follow-up question is simple: “Oh, what do they do?”
You think for a moment and say, “Oh, I just started there about six months ago, so I’m still learning everything they do. But they work with these local farmers, I mean gardeners, who grow vegetables and donate a certain amount to us. They bring it to our warehouse, and we go through it –you’d be surprised how much of it is bruised and damaged when it arrives. Sometimes I wonder if they keep the best produce for themselves. Then we sell it to organizations that work with poor people.”
The other guest murmurs something about how rewarding the work must be and walks away. And another opportunity is lost.
We’ve all provided a lack-luster, long-winded description of our organization. It’s easy to be engaging about an organization when we’ve had a good night sleep, are feeling positive about our work, and are relaxed. But getting this important introductory message right when we aren’t at our best requires preparation and practice.
For this reason, we bring you a featured conversation with Sandy Rees, the Chief Encouragement Officer of Get Fully Funded. She shares an exercise you can use to prepare a brief and powerful introduction of your agency.
(4:30) Why talking about our organization is boring to other people
(7:24) Why reciting the mission statement isn’t a good way to explain your organization
(10:07) The importance of limiting yourself to six words
(14:44) Exercises you can do to identify your six magical words
(19:45) How often you should review and revise your six words
(24:25) How to gauge a person’s (or audience’s) body language when you speak about your organization