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Develop Your Central Story

Think about a time when you secured a new supporter for your nonprofit. What did you tell them about the organization that made them want to pitch in and help? You created a vivid image in their mind of a need that they could help fill! Here’s a formula for reproducing that winning conversation:

  • What?
  • So What?
  • Now What?

First you are going to let your audience know about a problem. Next, you’re going to describe the way that problem affects people. Lastly, you’ll describe how your nonprofit solves the problem.

Activity: What, So What, Now What?

Give yourself 5-10 minutes to answer the following questions about your nonprofit. Go ahead and provide as much detail as you can within that time frame.

  1. What is the problem your nonprofit was created to solve?
  2. Who is impacted by this problem and how do you help?
  3. What’s next for your nonprofit?

Now, for each question, read through what you’ve written and edit it down to the most compelling few sentences.

  1. What’s the problem? (1-2 sentences)
  2. Who is impacted and how do you help? (1-2 sentences)
  3. What’s next for your nonprofit? (1-2 sentences)

Finally, personalize the story. Why are you drawn to this work? How do you relate to people impacted by this problem? What inspires you about your work?

  1. What?
  2. So what?
  3. Now what?

Test your knowledge

Who owns a nonprofit organization?