This post is part of our #Share4Schools social sweepstakes series, designed to help schools engage supporters in social circles to promote fundraising—and possibly win cash prizes. While some of these articles reference #Share4Schools, the concepts are universal.
One of the key components to spreading the word about your organization is to clearly communicate your message.
Why does this particular initiative matter to people who might support you? What important task will they be helping you achieve?
First and foremost, you want to convey to potential supporters the importance of the #Share4Schools contest—for your school, specifically. We want to stress the impact this one action will make, what one more share can do for your school’s overall achievement and performance.
So first, ask yourself these questions:
What’s the end result that you hope to accomplish with your campaign?
Clearly outline for yourself the ideal outcome of participating in the #Share4Schools contest.
Winning the $1,000 is probably at the top of your list. But what will that $1,000 mean for your school, specifically? Quantify and qualify it.
What need at your school would be solved by winning?
Perhaps your school desperately needs new computers. How many computers could you buy with the winning money? And what would those new computers mean to the students who are currently stuck using old ones?
Focus on a tangible goal—something that can be captured in a few words and an image. People are more likely to participate in something if they can immediately understand how to achieve the desired goal.
Goals only work if they are achievable. Funnel your need to something that the amount of money in question can buy, and buy immediately. It should be fairly simple and straightforward.
How do you convey your message emotionally?
Frame your mission, as best you can, in terms of a story. People love stories; they are the hands that control the heart strings.
You already have the arc of the story. There’s a need at your school, and the contest winnings would fill that need. Most stories have the following:
- An inciting incident (a conflict, problem, or need that needs solving).
- A journey towards finding the solution.
- The outcome, where a solution is found and the conflict/problem/need is resolved in an emotionally satisfying way.
In the telling of your story, you could even zoom in on a particular student—one who wants to do graphic design or other specialized study, but needs a newer computer to do it.
The viewer of this message will take the second part of the story: the journey. Make the person on the other end feel like an active participant in that journey—an invaluable and indispensable part. Convey as clearly as you can that you can’t do this without them.
What will best illustrate your story and message?
Let’s keep with the example where we’re trying to sell to supporters that what our school desperately needs, more than anything else, are some new, updated computers.
Visuals are key to engaging human beings in abstract ideas. Use images to make your need tangible and urgent to people who might participate; photos are the perfect way to turn an abstract concept into something concrete.
You could start out your story with a photo of your old, outdated computers. Show what it would look like if your students had a few new ones—happy kids with pretty new machines.
Consider what other groundbreaking new initiatives schools in your area are doing, and make a case for how your school could pursue those initiatives if only you had access to the same technology.
Remember: the most important part is to make your solutions sound tangible and achievable. Reasonable, but important goals, are the kind of goals that people can get on board with supporting.
Writing a simple, “A-ha!” kind of message: http://gettingattention.org/articles/3280/message-development/nonprofit-aha-messages.html
How to communicate your organization’s impact: https://knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-communicate-your-impact