“I could really do with a cold drink right now, but first tell me how many cold drinks you have sold today” said no one ever…

We buy a cold drink because we’re thirsty or need a refreshment on a hot day while we are trying to deal with a million things. We may have preferences, but we don’t really care how many units you’ve sold today or in the past 6 months. We buy snow boots for our toddlers because we want their feet to be warm and cosy in below zero temperatures. If they make this happen, we don’t care how many distributors you have all over the world.

You may be great. Your product or service may be wonderful. It is relevant and valuable to the extent that it solves a problem for us or addresses one of our needs. We buy the difference you make in our lives. We buy your help in making us the hero of our own lives.

This works in a similar way in the not-for-profit sector. More so now than it has ever been. Your beneficiaries take part in your initiatives not because you’re great but because you offer something that addresses a problem in their lives and helps them become a better version of themselves. Other organizations team up with you because you respond to a need in their community. The days when donors used to give a generous cheque to a not-for-profit because they seem to be nice people and doing good stuff, are long gone. These days, especially the new ‘millennial’ generation of donors give to causes they are passionate about. They give with an intention to contribute to solving the world’s problems. They give to make the world a better place.

So, what problem do you solve for people and their communities? What needs do you address? What difference do you make? And who is the hero of your story?

If your elevator pitch, website, adverts, promotional materials, social media channels are not answering these questions clearly at first sight, then you don’t give people the opportunity to relate to you. You don’t give them a reason to buy your product, participate in your project or donate to your organization. They don’t choose you as an ally that helps them to be the hero of their lives.

The difference you make, the problem you solve and the need you address is your impact:

Understand it and you will relate to the heroes of your story better;

Measure it and you will know whether you are really solving problems or unintentionally contributing to them;

Communicate it and people can make a connection and become more willing to engage with you.

As mighty as you think you are, don’t forget the hero of your story nor underestimate the power of your impact in your survival and growth.

“If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.”

Melek De-Wint is an impact practitioner and supports organizations across the world to understand, measure and communicate their impact.



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