You already know putting a face on your impact is key to raising more money. And that means having your staff and board tell stories about your impact. So it’s no surprise a question I’m often asked is:
“How can we get our nonprofit board to share more stories?”
My simple answer:
Your board members have to HEAR more stories to be willing and able to share them.
If you feel like you are pushing a boulder uphill to get your board members excited to share client stories or even their own reasons for joining the board, you aren’t alone.
Here’s what I find we take for granted:
- Board members understand what kind of impact story we want them to share.
- Board members know HOW to share a compelling story.
Most of your board members don’t know how to do what you are asking them to do when you say, “Please share a story about us with your friends or family.”
Here are four ways to cause your board member to WANT to talk about your work:
1. Connect them to the people you serve regularly.
Bring a guest (a client, donor, volunteer, or someone passionate & articulate) into your board meeting to share how their life is different because of your organization.
2. Provide time and a template.
Provide a few minutes for your board members to craft their own version of the story they just heard at the board meeting.
3. Make it safe (and fun!) to practice.
Schedule time for your board members to share a story at your annual board retreat or monthly board meetings. This doesn’t have to take long: 2 minutes of a story share + 3 minutes of feedback and discussion about the how the story could be more engaging.
4. Recognize & reward.
When you learn of or hear a board member share a story about your organization, make a big deal. Reward the exact behavior you want to see continue. This could be a simple “round of applause” at a board meeting or a sign they get to display that says “This month’s Superstar Storytelling Board Member”
When you follow these four steps what you are really doing is going to infuse your mission into your board culture.
When board members are deeply connected to your mission by knowing names, ages, and the details about lives THEY are helping – they talk about those people with others. They actually share more stories.
You’ll equip your board members with exactly what they need to stay engaged and enthusiastic.
Learn the rest of Lori’s communication strategies for exceeding your fundraising goals. The Complete Storytelling System has been used by hundreds of nonprofit organizations to craft clear, bold messages and powerful stories that raise more money. Lori has used the tools in the System to help nonprofit organizations like yours raise nearly $300 million from individuals. And counting.