You may not believe this story. In 2006 there was this guy, a single guy, who wanted a wife and a family. He goes to eHarmony.com and signs up for 1 free month. Within the first 2 weeks, he meets a girl. Within 2 months, he flies halfway across the country to meet her for the first time. Within 6 months from meeting her, he proposes to her. Within 18 months later, they get married. Within 7 years later, they have 5 kids.
It probably took more than a website promotion call-to-action to make that story work out! There had to be an “emotional glue” that kept that story going. Imagine this story in light of your non-profit company initiatives. Do you have the glue needed to keep your constituents attached to your mission? Let’s look at 4 top ways you can keep your constituents “emotionally glued” to your mission.
1) A Story to Believe In
I know the story at the beginning of this article is true, because it’s my story. I love telling it, because people’s reactions are varied yet always priceless. What I love the most, is it’s an excellent ice breaker that brings people into my life.
Because Stories Are Fun
Have you ever read the stories on the back of your favorite snack packaging? They might illustrate a story about how their family business got started and how they make the same delicious snack in the same way today. Why do they do that? Why do they put those stories on the package?
Companies tell stories, because brand advocates need a story to believe in. And boy do I love stories.
Brand Advocates Need It
Do you know what a brand advocate is? One prime example would be my son who loves Spider Man. Anything that has Spider Man on it, in it, or around it, he goes crazy about it. How did he become such a strong advocate? He’s an advocate because he can easily step inside of the story and become part of the story.
Everyone Has a Story
Do you have a story that defines you? If you do, can it be improved? Has it ever moved someone to tears? Has it ever moved someone to laughter? Has it ever developed absolutely astounding reviews and testimonials in your favor? If your story has not, it should. Your story is there, it just needs to be told with truth and passion. And no, I’m not talking about writing a love novel or a stand-up comedy script. I’m asking you to tell the most truthful, and powerful story about your company that people can relate to.
Make Your Story Short and Memorable
When you start to brainstorm about how to present your story in a short, yet emotional way, think Pixar. If you have 4 extra minutes, check out this short love story below from the Pixar movie Up.
Make the Call-To-Action Natural
Ok start up your imagination. Let’s say that clip was about the owner of a fictional non-profit company that helps heal the broken hearts of widows and widowers. Then, the only part this clip would lack is an opportunity at the end that offers how people can be part of the healing story. In this case, my imaginary opportunity offer would be along the lines of “Bring healing to those who have loved and lost, by joining our mission as a bereavement volunteer”.
The obvious idea here is to make sure the call-to-action does not sound forced, but naturally blends into a complementary conclusion. Try to make your constituents feel that they are part of the solution and fulfillment of your story.
2) Exceptional Messaging
One day, I was shopping on several websites for a product that many different companies sell. Finally, my decision came down to two companies. All I needed was a good reason to buy it from either company. The first company had no reasons at all, and barely had a description about the product. The second company gave a brief, but elaborate description of why the product was great.
The second company won my business, even though the first company was a little cheaper. The second company won my business, simply because they gave me a compelling reason. This is what your constituents expect.
Craft Unique Words
Your website visitors need you to craft unique descriptions about each section, idea, or product on your website.
Keep your words short, but powerful.
You do this by removing the fluff and substituting creative and unique words. Find someone to give you honest opinions about your website copy. Like my wife for example, who always gives me honest opinions about when I elaborate way too much.
Match your words to your images and videos.
Translate your message through video, words, and images. They should all work together and overlap each other. If the messaging in your video, words, and images start to sound redundant on the same page, that’s exactly what you want.
3) Imagery and Video That Moves the Soul
I’ll let you in on a personal secret that very few people know. At the moment, the top 3 things that move me emotionally are holding my sleeping babies, listening to crashing waves in a dimly sunlit evening, and hiking through a quiet afternoon with my wife. Those moments are imprinted into my mind like miniature video reels. I found that the things that move us emotionally and stay with us profoundly into the future, are things that are both beautiful and true.
When I think back to the past I remember truthful moments in more positive and uplifting light. I tell you that any decent human being of any background can experience, appreciate, and remember these beautiful moments. Moments that you and your organization can try to give people.
Don’t Move Me Like That
Yes, it’s true that I would also remember my top 3 emotional experiences in their unfortunate opposites if these circumstances were as such:
- Holding my screaming babies
- Being bit by a crab while sleeping on the beach
- And entering into an argument with my wife while hiking (A completely fictional argument which I would have most likely started and most likely lost.)
I would not forget either of those moments above. No doubt, those moments would have carried memorable emotion and attention, but negative emotions will not compel potential constituents to send you continuous donations. It doesn’t mean you should craft an imaginary and fake presentation of the feelings you want to convey. It just means you stay honest.
Constituents are Friends
So how do you present imagery and video that moves the soul? Pretend you’re preparing photography and images as a gift for someone you care deeply about. Imagine how they will feel when they see it. Imagine the context surrounding the presentation and the journey that led to it. Show them, your constituents and donors, that it is important to you so that they know they are important.
In light of most nonprofit company initiatives, this mindset is easy and second nature to most of you. Please share your ideas with us.
4) Be a True Friend
I hate to say it, but a lot people will not volunteer. When we ask these people why they did not volunteer, they say it’s because they were not asked. Honestly, that makes perfect sense. Involvement is the critical key that keeps your nonprofit moving forward; and involvement directly reflects your ability to generate relationships.
Let’s Be Friends.
That then turns our request from “Get Involved” to, “Let’s Be Friends”. Why would we want to be friends? We become friends when we acknowledged shared interests and a willingness to know each other. As a member of a nonprofit organization, you’re up to bat. Your responsibility is to reach out and make friends with hopes that they will be as compelled as you are, to help your cause and your organization by means such as volunteering, donating, spreading the word, and becoming a sincere advocate.
Lead their emotions, not their compulsions.
Too often the call-to-action, “Get Involved”, results with subscribing to an email newsletter you’ll rarely read or clicking through to a twitter feed that turns into a 15 minute distraction. Why is that? It’s because a relationship has not been established yet.
You may have great email newsletters and have great information on twitter and facebook, but if your users do not have a strong relationship with you, they will eventually leave.
But then, why did they sign up in the first place? Why did they go to my social pages? There are surely many different reasons. One plausible reason is “immediate gratification”. When compelled under spontaneous interest, hyperfocused in the moment, users can be transformed into unreliable “followers”. They have been signed up under the pretense of their own compulsions.
Send me an Invitation.
So how do we capture the long-term followers and advocates? We do this by creating an inviting relationship at their first interaction with us. Think of your best friends. Why are you friends with them? Chances are, it’s because they were relevant to your interests and welcomed you into their life. We tend to like people who show interest in ourselves. You can’t “win” friends. Are you friends with the salesman who forced you into a quick sale? No. Are you friends with the salesman who asked you what you need, who learned you have common interests, who offered a better solution than their own, who gave you their personal cell number, who wanted to become your friend for personal reasons and not business reasons? Very possibly. This reminds me of a book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. This is not what I'm trying to convey. I’m talking about making real friends, not winning friends.
Use That “Emotional Glue”
There you have it. That’s the “emotional glue” I am referring to. Be a friend by being interested. Show them you care, with images and video. Tell them you care, with carefully crafted words of truth. Share your story so that they can become part of the solution. Just as my wife became my best friend and solution to my story, our constituents can really become friends and solutions to our nonprofit stories and initiatives.