You’re at a party, and the host introduces you to someone you’ve never met before. You smile. You say hello. Then comes the inevitable question,”So, what do you do?”
Cadence Turpin thinks that’s the wrong question. People are more than–and some times, very different from–what they do for a living.
For instance, her best friend Carolyn is a meeting planner. “Not many people understand meeting planning, nor do they know what to ask next when the ever so common ‘so what do you do?’ is posed.”
A lot of the time, people in the nonprofit world feel the same way. Not that many people understand the ins and outs of running a preschool program, or helping borrowers work out bad credit, or providing scholarships to young artists…or the millions of other things that nonprofits “do.”
Honestly, not that many people want to know.
So, like Carolyn, we end up feeling stuck. “If they don’t find her work interesting enough, then she must not be very interesting.”
If people don’t want to hear about the nuts and bolts of our nonprofit work, we have nothing to talk about? We know that can’t be true. But what can we do about it?
A Better Way to Say Who We Are
Cadence has found a better way. Instead of telling what her friends do, she tells why they matter to her.
I want people to know my friend Carolyn is amazing at her job, but more than that, I want people to know the stuff inside her that makes her a great friend. The stuff that makes you want to stand by her at a party, in hopes that her thoughtful observations and quick wit might rub off on you.
Can you find ways to do that for the organization where you work? Can you make that agency sound like the best friend you’d love to introduce, and that everybody would love to be introduced to?
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