publication date: Mar 6, 2012
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
often, I run proposition development sessions with clients. We
start by sharing examples of those who articulate their message well, understanding
what the organization does and what it does better than anyone else (why they're
unique), and what the benefits are for their supporters.
turn all of this into some easy to understand, easy to share, "sticky" messaging
that draws people in and finds the right trigger to garner their support.
pretty straightforward. Sometimes it is. Other times it's a little muddier. But
we get there in the end.
Recently I facilitated
a session where a beneficiary - someone directly affected and helped by this organization
- attended. It's also worth noting that in addition to the fundraising folks, we
had the CEO come along, which in the right context can help enormously.
Hearing your story from someone you've helped
of the workshop I listed above can be really hard work if we can't crack what is
at the heart of what the organization does, and why that's unique, special and
better than the mob up the road.
who literally knows the ins and outs of said organization. His life has been seriously
changed by the work it does. He gets the nuts and bolts of why its work is so critical,
and knows all too well what it would be like without it.
changes the dynamic and output from the session. No longer are we hypothesizing
about what impact we may have, or second guessing ourselves as to whether we are
truly offering someone no-one else is.
Their words better than yours
I know when I was in hospital, I couldn't have possibly
made such a quick recovery without X and Y. Talking to other Z survivors enabled
me to do A and B. No-one else offers C in a way that allows you to get support from
other people who have been through it. That's what makes it so useful and helped
me get back on my feet.
For example, three weeks after I was admitted to
hospital, I spoke to a lady called Margaret and she had exactly the same problem
I had. She walked me though everything I needed to do, and next thing you know,
I was up and ready for the next stage of rehab. If program C wasn't done in such
a way I'd hate to think where I'd be now.
better than -
I think the thing that sets us apart is our
programs A, B and C. They offer peer support services through online and face-to-face
forums. We're the only organization in the province that runs them like this.
uncovered the unique aspect of our work in the latter example, but the firsthand
account from a service user digs deeper and provides real insights into how peer
supports actually help, not how we think they could, in theory, be useful.
Key things to remember
Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at Flat
Earth Direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good
causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world
focused on digital and direct response campaigning.
If you'd like to chat to Jonathon you can drop
him a line, follow him on
twitter @jonathongrapsas or check out www.flatearthdirect.com
Every time you run a new campaign,
offer a new way to give or want to change the way you position your work, take
time first for some proposition/key
messaging work. Without it, you won't stand out from the rest. What's
the single most important thing you want to get across?
Include a variety of stakeholders in any proposition sessions: fundraisers,
CEOs, service workers and service users (beneficiaries). All provide a
different view as to why what you do is better than the group up the road.
Spend time understanding the
fundamental difference between the
benefits and features of becoming a supporter. Ask yourself, "So what?"
when you come up with what you think may be a benefit. For example the fact
that a monthly gift comes directly out of my bank account is not a benefit to
me. The real benefit is that it makes it easy, one less thing I have to worry
about. The difference is subtle, but very important.
proposition is not a tagline. It's the essence of what you're trying to tell someone. It's a message
that may be succinct, but doesn't have to be. It should be as long as it needs