When I’m in need of some inspiration to revitalize my work day, I turn to books. Over the summer, I do a lot of reading, mulling over projects and ideas for the year.
I also read a lot at the cottage. That’s me—to the right—on a girls’ weekend in Wakefield Quebec with some of my oldest and dearest friends. That weekend I brought along three books (I am also an ambitious reader!). Here’s what I am reading, and why!
1 The Art of Relevance by Nina Simon
Guest Post by Vanessa Chase - The Storytelling NonprofitStorytelling is becoming a regular part of fundraising programs and for good reasons. It is a powerful tool that helps organizations emotionally connect donors to their impact. According to a recent NPR story, anecdotally telling someone how they can help one person means they are more likely to make after. But sometimes storytelling can be easier said than done.
If you work in fundraising or communications, you may not have direct access to your organization’s amazing stories or worse, there may be a silo in your way. I’ve talked to countless nonprofit professionals in the last few years who have faced these problems and I can certainly relate from my own experiences. Another common barrier to storytelling is interviewing, which can seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. You may feel nervous. The interviewee may be nervous. It can be a recipe for an awkward interview.
One of my most frustrating moments as a consultant came when I was working with programming staff, trying to collect some stories – stories that I needed in order to fundraise. I was working with excellent programming people: they were good at their jobs and dedicated to the mission of the organization. Wow – was it ever challenging to get stories “from the field!”
To understand people’s actions, you need to understand their perspectives.
Programming staff: rewarded for executing programming, project focused, well connected with their volunteers and their community, action-oriented (at least the good ones!)
Development staff: rewarded for getting personal, spending time with donors, telling compelling stories, and raising money by connecting emotionally with individuals.