What if you could have a team or an army of people who talk about your organization every day? People who were proud to share stories about the impact of the life-changing work being done at your organization? Telling stories so compelling people who hear them want to take action and give their time or financial support?
It’s a simple but powerful tool I often recommend to organizations I work with, begin a practice of holding a “mission moment” at meetings and gatherings with staff and board.
I define a “mission moment” as any example of how your organization is making an impact. It’s an example about a real person, family, or human situation.
- It can be a board member telling how they felt to participate at your recent fundraising event.
- It can be a staff person talking about the family that got turned away that day.
- It can be a volunteer saying thank you for allowing them to “work” with your organization.
Mission moments are short, inspirational examples of your work that put a face on what you do. They are stories and examples that can be repeated by others because they are not too long. They are inspiring and often give visibility to something you’d like to do more of but due to limited resources you simply can’t do all that you’d like.
I recently heard a mission moment about Neal, a young man with Down Syndrome who, after a great deal of support in a residential housing environment, made a toast at his brother’s wedding — to a room of 200 people! Making a toast in front of lots of people can scare many of us, but the work done at this organization made it possible for Neal to feel great, be prepared, and able to share in a special family event. The telling of the story of his toast was a memorable moment for Neal and for the organization that provides him ongoing care and support.
The story was shared in such a way that listeners wanted to learn more about how to help. That’s what I call a powerful mission moment.
So, how to begin?
1. Make time at each staff, board, and committee meeting. Ask for someone to share an example of a “mission moment.” (You may have to be the first example to show people how to do it.)
2. Just one “mission moment” shared at each meeting is plenty.
3. Rotate who shares.
4. Keep the sharing to literally a minute or two at the most.
5. No rules about what the mission moment is about.
6. Get people talking and connecting about real people and real feelings.
This is also a great activity to kick off a one-on-one donor visit. Ask THEM if they have an example of a mission moment for why they support your organization. OR you share a short example of your work as a mission moment to connect the donor to something fresh and new about your organization.
The moments shared do not always have to have a happy ending. But they DO always have to cause people to feel something.
Start today. It will change things. I promise. And you WILL build an army of people who share powerful stories about your organization.
This post was included in Withism’s from Lori: Boldness, Clarity & Wisdom for Fundraising Professionals Making a Difference (Volume 1), now available in paperback, on Kindle, and Nook.