When it comes to communications, a nonprofit should act less like a business and more like the voice of a cause.
That’s the message Brian Sooy wants to bring us in Raise Your Voice: A Cause Manifesto. He is tired of watching nonprofit organizations design their logos, their websites, and their social media around some artificial idea of a brand.
As a nonprofit board member as well as a design professional, he advises: start with your mission instead. Not your “mission statement,” but the purpose for which you exist.
In Part I of this slim book, Sooy gives advice on how to reach clarity about your mission.
In Part II, he spells out twelve principles related to the purpose, character, and culture of your organization and the tone of voice in which you speak to your supporters. Taken together, these twelve principles guide you toward a more meaningful relationship among your Board, Executive Director and donors based on the cause in which you all believe.
“This is not a how-to book,” Sooy says, and he is certainly right. It’s a philosophy, distilled.
If you are working at a nonprofit, read it to take a step back from the everyday business of your organization and remember why you work there in the first place. You may dip back into it from time to time for inspiration.
You may even find yourself sharing sections with your coworkers, to get your focus back, and to remind yourselves that you and your supporters are all human beings who care about something, together.