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“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

Sharing stories and statistics of the impact your organization is making is an essential way to show supporters what you are doing to make an impact. However, can they identify why you do it? This is a big difference maker for potential donors.

Simon Sinek’s, “Start With Why,” has become one of the most influential books when it comes to shaping both the culture at Pursuant and the way we serve our clients. We believe your future depends upon your ability to identify and communicate not only what you do, but why you do it.

3 Ways Nonprofits Can “Start With Why” to Inspire Donors

Here are three ways nonprofits can embrace a “start with why” approach:

  1. Step back and ask, “Why does my nonprofit exist?” Do you know your organization’s “why”? (Hint: It’s not to “change the world”). Think about the core purpose of your organization and how you market your programs or services. Are they aligned? Understanding your “why” is essential to knowing how to communicate how and what you do.
  2. Incorporate your “why” into every donor interaction. Nonprofits that tell the best stories win. Communicating the “why” in every donor interaction—whether it’s a social media update or a face-to-face ask for $50,000—is essential for truly motivating donors and building your story.
  3. Redefine your donor personas. Simon Sinek makes the point that “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” With that mind, think about your buyer personas for a moment. Are they based purely on target demographics and assumed characteristics? Are they the kinds of people who might share your core values? What is it that drives your buyer personas to buy your products and remain loyal over a long period of time?

Your purpose, clearly stated and communicated, is a powerful tool for building donor loyalty and trust. When people believe in why you do what you do, they have the potential to become a powerful force for supporting your mission for changing the world.

The next time you engage a potential donor, whether it’s through a face-to-face ask or a Facebook post, don’t share what you’re planning on doing or how you’re planning on doing it. Instead, share the “why.”