Recruit Grateful Storytellers

Thank you message on adhesive note on office table

It is well-documented that organic, authentic, word-of-mouth testimonials help organizations to grow in a way that paid advertising can’t touch. There is nothing that speaks with more power than stories told in gratitude.

If you are the leader of a nonprofit, ask your staff, board members, volunteers and donors to tell tales for you. Offer them the below tips, and ask that they take them to heart. Ask them to act. Don’t be shy.

And business owners, make a point to ask your clients and customers to put this advice to good use as well. It will help you raise awareness in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Ask your constituents and customers to write a letter to the editor: Newspapers accept brief letters to the editor on topics of all kinds, and these communications can be powerful. Make sure that those writing on your behalf include their connection to your business or organization, the problem your group helped them solve (or the way it brought about change in their life), and a statement about why that change was important. Have them invite the reader to get involved—to give or volunteer to your nonprofit, or become a client of your business. It doesn’t matter if the organization is a mechanic’s shop or a school; a letter is a great idea. Here’s an example:

Dear Editor,

My daughter is in fourth grade and is very shy, and that’s holding her back in school. Her teacher told me I should try to get her involved in activities that would help her build confidence. I signed her up for gymnastics at the local YMCA. The leader of the class made my daughter feel welcome right away, and she can now turn cartwheels and do a back bend, and she feels good about herself. Now, she does her homework before I ask her, and she is making new friends! If your child needs an extra boost, the Y could help.

Ask constituents and clients to offer testimonials on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites are an incredible place to pass along organic testimonials. Their power to reach hundreds, or thousands, is real, and a viral posting success could begin with you. Using the YMCA class as an example, ask your client—the young girl’s mom in this example—to take a photo of her daughter in front of the YMCA and post it with a simple phrase: “At Katie’s favorite place for gymnastics class.” Ask your constituents to do this often, to tag your business or organization. It will take them a minute and, over time, that kind of visibility can really help to build awareness.

Ask them to share posts. Ask your clients, volunteers, donors and staff to follow your posts on social media and share the ones they especially like—news, events, a success story—with a few words of their own, like “The food pantry I volunteer for just launched a fundraiser. Donate if you can!” Every time someone shares one of your posts, you are growing your reach, and your ability to do more good in the community.

That reminds me, if you are reading this blog on my website, please share it using the social media icons! If you’re reading it from a link on my Facebook page, post a comment or share!

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