A few years ago, I attended a fundraiser hosted by a board member of a local nonprofit. I attended the gathering because the passion and mission shared by the board member really made me feel like it was something I would want to be a part of. There were about 30 people in attendance; the majority of us had no connection to the organization and were there to learn more about their work.

In my brief conversations with guests and staff members, I observed a number of different understandings of exactly what the organization did. When the founder gave her remarks, the explanation of the impact of the organization was not only different from what I had understood from the person that invited me, but it was also devoid of any call-to-action that compelled me to do anything beyond that evening.

As a strategist that has helped guide organizations in their communications for over a decade, I immediately saw a missed opportunity for the organization. It was clear that most in attendance weren’t moved to support the organization.

Some organizations provide their staff, volunteers and board with specific language to share. Word. For. Word. Some leave them to their own devices assuming that, because they are involved with the organization, they’ll know exactly what to say. Each of these approaches yields very different results, but both are usually largely ineffective. In the former, people are so focused on trying to remember verbatim what they’ve been told to say, their pitch is devoid of any emotion and sounds so scripted that they don’t form any connection to the people they are speaking with. In the latter, people can get so far off message that their audience isn’t sure what points they should focus on, so they just tune out.

A better approach is messaging with passion. Imagine if everyone connected to your organization shared key messaging and points that were framed from their authentic, emotional base? Allowing people to define for themselves the specific reasons why they are passionate about your organization, and incorporating that into your messaging, is powerful. This blend of emotions and facts gives people what they need to make a decision about what to do next.

Your communications strategy is not only about presenting the data, it’s how you present it.

We will be covering this concept of Emotion and Facts, and much more, in our Summer session of We The People PR Program, beginning June 6, 2017.  Are you joining us?

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