THE most powerful way to connect people to your mission…share a story, a mission moment, that causes your listener or reader to feel something about the work of your organization.
It’s simple and powerful to share a short example of how your work affects one man, woman, or child.
Maya Angelou said it best:
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
After hearing and re-telling hundreds, maybe even thousands of stories, I’ve learned to listen carefully first.
When I re-tell a story, my secret is to fill in the words that are NOT BEING SPOKEN. I add words that are emotionally connecting to flesh out the details.
Here’s an example of taking a story from ho hum or boring to engaging:
“A woman with keratoconus was helped by our organization. She was not able to afford the surgery that would correct her vision. Finally, an ophthalmologist in her community helped her. He had been trained by our doctors. The woman always wanted to have better vision and after her doctor operated she can see much better.”
“Sondra is 27 and lives in Sonora, Mexico, just south of Tucson. She's tall, with long brown hair, and always busy. Which isn’t easy because she’s virtually blind. In fact, she’s filled with a deep sadness because she can never leave her house alone. Sondra has been in need of cornea transplant surgery since she was a young girl. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I know that when she wakes up each morning and looks in the mirror it appears as if it’s covered with steam or as if there’s soap rubbed on it. Sondra sees only very blurry images that are black and white.
With contributions from our supporters we created an international fellows program, which teaches doctors from other countries to perform the exact surgery Sondra needs: cornea transplant surgery.
Dr. Rodriguez, Sondra’s doctor, the first recipient of our fellows program, decided he would provide one surgery to his community for free each year. He chose Sondra to receive the first gift.
On the day of her surgery Sondra was very grateful to us for training her doctor because that’s the day she was able to see the faces of her seven and nine year old little boys for the very first time.
Today, Sondra is able to drive herself to her volunteer job at the eye clinic. Sometimes she gets in her car to take a drive alone and says she feels free. Now her smile lights up any room she’s in. The sparkle in her eyes is the gratitude and love she feels for having her eyesight restored.”
Use the graphic above from page 12 of my Boring2Brilliant ebook to help you craft powerful, emotionally connecting, mission moment stories.
- For a deeper dive on mission moment stories, join Lori L. Jacobwith on August 1 for the NEW GrantStation webinar: How to Find and Craft Powerful Nonprofit Stories.