Not-For-Profit (NFP) Communications has its unique challenges which those outside of the sector don’t always understand. Amongst other challenges, your goal is not a simple one – whether it’s to influence popular opinion, inspire public generosity, generate support for community leaders, keep the majority happy (when everyone has different opinions) or to simply raise awareness of your cause.
In 2014, the goals we would love to achieve for our NFPs are significant, and such great ambition requires great inspiration. I have found the following quotes to be a great addition to the NFP communicator’s tool kit for changing the world:
1. “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.” – Bill Gates
What communication tools are available to you that you haven’t taken advantage of? Could there be a tool that would enhance communication with the right people, and in turn have ‘profound effects’?
2. “You write in order to change the world…The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimetre, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” – James Baldwin
Your work has the ability to influence the way people look at reality – do they approve or disapprove, do they support or are they unaware, are they passionate or indifferent? Changing people’s perception of your cause, even by the smallest degree, can make a huge difference for your cause in the long run. Endeavour to see each piece of communication as an opportunity to help alter the way people understand your cause – and therefore to help change the world.
3.“Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.” – John F. Kennedy
Success involves teamwork – we can’t change the world on our own. Instead of seeing other NFPs as competition, why not try working together to accomplish more than you could on your own? What opportunities are there where you can learn from each other, encourage each other, and help each other progress towards your goals? Anything is possible if we do it together.
4.“Tolkien needed the encouragement of Lewis more than ever to complete the writing of The Lord of the Rings.’ – Colin Duriez1
Two of the greatest authors of the 20th century – C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien – were able to achieve their success because of the support they found in one another. Who do you go to for inspiration, encouragement and feedback? Who has the privilege of critiquing your work and contributing to its betterment? How are you seeking to grow in 2014? Could you (and your work) benefit from finding a ‘fellow communicator’ to grow with?
5. “America has given the Negro people a bad cheque which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” – Revd Martin Luther King Junior
There is always opposition, even to just causes. Yet breakthrough and success come with perseverance and refusing to accept indifference, opposition, intolerance and the word ‘no’ (in whatever form it comes). If you believe in your cause, then don’t accept anything less than its fulfilment, no matter how long it takes.
6.“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin
It’s a harsh and cruel statement, and yet in NFP communications it can often be true. Do you often quote the big statistics to try to influence people? Or do you bring it back to that one person or one story so that people can relate? Never underestimate the power of a single person’s story to influence emotion, understanding and change in another human being.
As you press forward to take hold of your goals in 2014, I hope these quotes will provide encouragement, inspiration and even a little challenge for you. May this year be one of fulfilment, success and progress for your NFP.
1 – J.R.R Tolkien: The Making of a Legend (2012). Duriez, C. Page 193.