Take the Time to Inspire Us

by Paul Starsoneck

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The next day, President Roosevelt addressed Congress and the nation with a somber yet stirring speech in which he swore that America would never forget December 7, 1941, as a “date that would live in infamy.”  

As the son of a WWII Navy Veteran who enlisted after these events, I have always wondered how much FDR’s words inspired my father’s actions. I’m fortunate and privileged to be writing today based on his survival during service in the Pacific that included the largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf. We all remember FDR’s message as reflecting the sentiments of the country and a collective call to action. I’m reminded of the fact that what a leader says, can and does impact how we feel and what we do.  

Leaders in the nonprofit sector have the opportunity to share inspiring messages that include the impact of their mission and/or programs. And that is exactly what funders and donors want to hear. In a recent report by Social Solutions, funders were asked to identify their three most important considerations for funding. 98% of respondents chose Impact, followed by Mission and Legal Status. In what they look for in reporting, funders top three responses included Outcomes and Impact Stories ahead of Budgets.

Spending the time and effort to craft impact stories is also key in the ongoing challenge of acquiring and retaining donors. The inspiration and follow up call to action delivered in a well-crafted message is more important than ever in today’s communications environment. “… it will mean adhering to this single golden rule of the digital jungle: If it’s entertaining, moving, or inspiring, they’ll click. If it’s not, they'll move on.” -Lisa Sherman.

These inspirations also need to be propagated using social media. While 27% of my baby boomer generation follow a charity on social media, an ever increasing 47% of gen-Xers, and 55% of millennials follow a charitable organization, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s What Will Matter in 2017 report.

I’m certain FDR’s address would have the same impact today whether it was a speech, press release, online newsfeed, Facebook post, or Tweet. A positive idea of what can be achieved, wrapped in an inspired choice of words may resonate even stronger in today’s world of hastily conceived messages.

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