What if you could build a large team of people who are so proud to talk about your organization that they share stories every day, increasing your annual fundraising and retiring your title of the “best-kept secret” in town?
A simple and powerful tool to attain this goal is to begin a practice of holding a “mission moment” at meetings and gatherings with staff and board.
I define a “mission moment” as a tiny, powerful example of how your organization is making an impact. The key is: it MUST be an example about a real person. Even if you do advocacy work or are an environmental charity, it has to be a people story. Mission moments put a face on what you do. They are stories and examples that can be repeated by others because they are short and inspiring.
They allow you to brag about your work through someone else’s eyes. I recently heard a mission moment about Neal, a young man with Down Syndrome who, after a great deal of support at his group home made a moving, inspiring 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 because Neal gets the attention and loving support he needs he asked to make the toast. He told his family and care givers he wouldn’t be nervous, he would be proud to tell everyone how great his brother is.
Neal practiced out loud so often that the staff at his group home felt THEY could give the toast, by heart, themselves. What Neal said was simple and loving. He spoke from his heart. And he told the bride that she had the best husband in the world. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room by the time he finished.
Neal’s story was shared with me in a way that I wanted to learn more about how to help. That’s what I call a powerful mission moment.
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 a minute or two at the most. The only rule about sharing a mission moment is it has to be about a real person.
The moments shared don’t always have to have a happy ending. They DO always have to cause people to feel something (pride, frustration, hope, awe, upset).
Lori L. Jacobwith, Founder of Ignited Fundraising, is a nationally-recognized master storyteller and fundraising culture change expert. In 2016 she was listed as one of America’s top 25 fundraising experts. Lori has delivered coaching and training sessions to thousands world-wide that have helped nonprofit organizations raise $300 million dollars from individual donors. Her proven strategies & tools teach staff and board members to share their stories powerfully and effectively to cause donors to give more.
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