Recently, some of the B1G1 Members reached out to us asking what we thought was the right way to communicate their giving message.
The issue became evident to us when one B1G1 member was creating a video message to engage with his community and to thank his clients for the great impacts they’d created together over the years. But he became uncertain after receiving initial feedback of a draft version he posted in a couple of private groups. He received a mixture of positive encouragements and constructive criticisms.
Consequently, a couple of other B1G1 members explained to us that regardless of multiple attempts talking to others about how great they felt about giving through B1G1, some people just didn’t seem to ‘get’ it. So the B1G1 members felt somewhat disappointed that their enthusiasm didn’t easily convince others to start giving.
Before we dive into the ‘how’, let me just explain that I feel we are so lucky to have members like them – business owners and their team members who are extremely supportive and keen to spread the word about this initiative.
We want them and you to succeed in inspiring others because our objective is to create a world that’s full of giving. This can only be achieved when we inspire every business to start giving regularly.
So, let’s take this opportunity to talk about some useful ideas for creating the most resonant communications.
What’s the right way?
The answer to this question: many.
There are so many brilliant ways to communicate with your audience to inspire them. Everything we see suggests there’s no single ‘right way’ to do it. If anything, it comes back to intent. The reality is this: the best message flows naturally from your own genuine caring and authentic thoughts.
Let’s put that more simply …. It needs to be YOU. If we scripted what you should say word by word and you copied and pasted it on your website or recited it in your conversations, it’s not really authentic anymore. But what we can do (and what works brilliantly) is to take what you feel like saying and then add some ‘magic’ to it so that it becomes the very best version of you.
To help with that, it’s important to know that there are some things people (and businesses) do quite unknowingly that create a sense of disconnect. So, you can use the 6 points below as a checklist of alignments you make to create a deeper sense of connection with the people you want to inspire.
Alignment #1: Being ‘Corporate’ versus Being Personal
Many companies that implement giving as a CSR initiative (sadly, they even use that out-worn ‘CSR’ phrase too) often describe their giving in this way, “ABC Company proudly supports Charity X.”
There is nothing that sounds personal or caring about this statement. And it says that their giving is their corporate initiative — not about their teams or customers or about helping create a better world. Today, companies that are able to express their vulnerability and personality in a humane way are connecting with people so much more and creating a greater sense of trust.
Alignment #2: Being Problem-Focused versus Being Solution-Focused
Often, people feel that they have to make their points by focusing strongly on certain problems. This approach can be effective – showcasing problems and solutions together can encourage people to take specific actions. But imagine a company saying, “every day x children die because of malnutrition. Consumerism and corporate greed created the world of inequality. So, we choose to donate to fight hunger.”
Whilst well-meaning, a negative focus statement can make others feel guilty or defensive. It can even make people feel skeptical about taking positive action. So instead, we need to focus more on the positive outcome we can create to inspire others.
Alignment #3: Being Single-sided versus Being Inclusive
When you feel very strongly about a specific issue, it’s easy to become attached.
For example, some people believe that education is the way to change the world. Others might be very focused on the importance of environmental conservation or human right issues. The challenge is to recognise that (as important as ‘your’ issue might be to you), your passion for expressing it might well ‘turn off’ others.
People care about different issues and they have different reasons to feel and think what they feel and think. So, when you express your giving by saying your way is the way, it can create a feeling of disconnect in others.
But your sense of genuine caring can be expressed without diminishing what others believe in. And doing that in your very authentic way can become a powerful change agent, inspiring others to care more in their own ways.
Alignment #4: Being Proud versus Being Grateful
When you achieve great things, it’s natural that you want to share that. But repeatedly expressing how proud you are about your own achievements (‘blowing your own trumpet’ as it were) can create a sense of disconnect too.
Against that, when you come from a sense of sincere gratitude, the expression of that gratitude can bring people together.
The reality is that when we are able to contribute and do something meaningful, we truly are the lucky ones.
Alignment #5: Trying Too Hard versus Just Being You
Some people find public communications quite challenging. To some, speaking about their own giving feels like a wrong focus. When people and companies try too hard to say the right things or become too reluctant to express things, it can create a sense of disconnect too. Simply expressing a genuine idea and a sense of caring can be much more powerful than saying something that they try very hard to figure out.
For example, it can be as simple as how Ben Walker from Inspire CA put it: “I was doing a training session for a client. I found [a project] in India that trains mums to run businesses. I thought, how cool! So while I was training one family in Australia, many families got access to training in India!”
And if companies want to give anonymously, it is good to do that until such time as they naturally feel open to express things with an intention to honour others. People like to work with and buy from genuine businesses. But being genuine is not a strategy or a methodology; it’s about you being you.
Alignment #6: Having versus Not Having an Expectation
The whole purpose of giving is to contribute, to solve specific issues and make things better. It’s not to have expectations that others might comment favorably on your giving. If you want to share because you feel grateful and inspired, that’s already fantastic! And the reward is greater when we are not even expecting any.
Again, the most important thing is that you find the best way for you to communicate your own belief and feelings in the most integral way.
There are some ideas that you can consider too:
- Identifying clearly why you want to give and what change you care to create
- Involving your team in the giving and letting them express their feelings
- Simplifying your communication (having a great editor can help)
- Making it more visual (using beautiful photos and videos – and no stock photos)
- Finding the right designer and writer who really ‘gets’ you
- Actively asking for other people’s ideas and feelings
- Getting involved even more with the giving community (it will inspire you even more!)
- We also look forward to hearing your suggestions for others in the B1G1 community.
Please send us your thoughts directly or comment on this post.
We look forward to learning from each other so that we can together create a truly caring world — a world that’s full of giving.
P.S. You can also check out how some other B1G1 Businesses are expressing their sense of giving right here.
Join the B1G1 Giving Movement by getting your tailored Giving Plan HERE.