Friday, June 12, 2009

Staying true to who you are and how that effects good communication

Recently, I was speaking with a non-profit prospect about their various communications challenges. After reviewing the situation, they seemed very keen to work with me but in the end, it became very clear that in earnest, they weren't ready to work with a public relations firm. Their mandate and mission was unclear despite the great work they had been doing of over the last number of years. The trouble was that without first resolving clearly the less "sexier" of items such as clarifying their business plan and their mission plan, the best PR in the world would at best result in mixed results for them.

You see, communications in its best form works well when it is in support of other plans an NPO's leadership or board establish. We PR consultants work best in realizing their objectives by building awareness for their audiences about how they can help realize the overall plan.

Recently, I stumbled across a good blog article that describes this story from the perspective of building a position of power amongst potential donors to a cause: http://www.donorpowerblog.com/donor_power_blog/2009/06/why-you-should-be-yourself.html

Check it out:

Why you should be yourself

A lot of organizations (and not just nonprofits) struggle with who they are. Sometimes it's weak leadership that fails to set a clear direction. Sometimes it's because they're constantly in thrall of the latest fad. Or a consensus-driven culture that never quite gels into unity.

Being unsure and inconsistent about who you are may feel like "flexibility." But there's a downside: Confusion, lack of direction, needless conflict.

The Brains on Fire blog takes a good look at this issue at Being True to Who You Are:

When you stay true to who you are, all the gray is taken out of the world. It's black and white. You put a stake in the ground and stand firm in the knowledge of what you do really well, and what you refuse to do. It becomes so easy to connect with those that have the same beliefs. And you rest easy in those relationships. Because of the trust that is shared.

Being something, rather than being anything, makes life easier, and makes everything you do better. And it's a more authentic mode than blowing in the wind.

Authenticity is attractive. Your donors, at least the best ones, will notice.

Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy for non-profits and associations. Make sure to contact him for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.

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