Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Part 2: 5 Things Fundraisers Can Do to Enhance Public Speaking Skills

Here's Part 2 of a 3-part series of guest blogs written by Communications Coach Kealah Parkinson. Kealah has almost 20 years experience in the communications industry and is the founder of Kiki Productions, Inc., a communications coaching practice.

Kealah's got 5 things that you can do to enhance your public speaking skills. Last week, we shared the first 2 things: #1, Know your audience and #2, Target your message. In this blog, we'll share the next 2.


3. Polish your ask. Of course, the most important part of your message is going to be your "ask." When it comes time to highlight the direct fundraising portion of your message, be sure to include some key items, such as:

 - The specific aspect of your cause that troubles your audience (i.e., "our state's infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the country"); using anecdotes here to illustrate your point is also helpful.

 - How your organization helps, especially through highlighting case studies or examples.

 - A strong call to action that compels them to act in a very spelled out way (name the next step they can take at this very moment) and exactly what that will do to bring an end to the problem at hand.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Selling from the stage, or boosting your fundraising skills to a group.

4. Practice, practice, practice! We've all heard the phrase, "Practice makes perfect." But I prefer the alternate phrase, "Practice makes permanent." When we do something over and over again, we start to form neuronal pathways that hardwire our brains to continue doing the task the same way. If we aren't doing that task as well as we should, we'll continue to meet a mediocre standard until we consciously change our ways.

When it comes to public speaking, that means that any mistake we make - like speaking too quickly or quietly, losing track of time and going too long or too short (bad habits that can take a presentation way off agenda), or even failing to place importance on our speaking parts (more on this later) - will become mistakes we make repeatedly. Rather than accepting these foibles as "just who we are," we can set goals to change them. For instance, "I will learn to project my voice better at events without microphones," may mean looking for help through online resources or consulting a coach. Even asking friends for advice and assistance can hold you accountable to meeting your goal. The more effort you make, the more you work to rewire your brain's neuronal pathways and break bad habits, replacing them with more effective ones.

With all you have to do for a fundraising event, rehearsing your presentation may be the lowest priority. But the more time you can dedicate to rehearsing - to a friend, co-worker, pet, mirror, or recording device - the more you'll be able to up your public speaking game.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Taking your presentation seriously.

Tune in next week the final public speaking tip from Kealah!




Kealah (KEY-la) Parkinson is a Communications Coach who teaches clients how to stop the fight-or-flight cycle early and intentionally using Key Mottos™ and other proprietary tools, as well as techniques for speaking with confidence in their businesses and personal lives. She is currently working on her third book, 365 Days of Mood Tools. Learn more at www.FindYourMotto.com.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Part 1: 5 Things Fundraisers Can Do to Enhance Public Speaking Skills

This post begins a 3-part series of guest blogs written by Communications Coach Kealah Parkinson. Kealah has almost 20 years experience in the communications industry and is the founder of Kiki Productions, Inc., a communications coaching practice.

Kealah's got 5 things that you can do to enhance your public speaking skills. In this blog, we'll share the first 2.


1. Know your audience. While some fundraising presentations are meant for the general public, others are created for specific audiences, such as local community healthcare workers or regional hospital CEOs. How refined is your message to the demographic? What is that audience's relationship to your organization? 

Whether you're handing out awards in recognition to the group or strategizing a pitch for further involvement, your organization likely has some key information on the attendees -- more than just their names and contact info. Use the demographic research at your fingertips to learn about what's important to the donors (and soon-to-be donors) involved. When you speak to the audience's needs, wants, and wishes, you build a rapport based on trust and credibility. And that makes people want to give.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Grabbing your listeners' attention.

2. Target your message. What you say is just as important as how you say it. Now that you know your audience, you can use that knowledge to pepper in keywords that resonate with attendees. Use trade words that make sense to them. Splash in some colorful phrases that underscore the theme of your event. Be creative! But don't overdo it and bury your message. Hooking your audience is important and so is keeping them interested. Remember that each aspect of what you say publicly during your presentation has a purpose. Take some time to write down that purpose so that it stays in the forefront of your mind. When you know why you're saying something, you're more likely to say it how it needs to be said in order to hit home with the receiver.

You can also use anecdotes to bring your stories to life. The better your storytelling skills, the more compelling of a speaker you will be.

Remember, memorizing your (short) speech or reading from a script may help you to stay on point if you're too nervous to retain information or if you are a natural ad libber who wanders frequently off-point or can't keep track of time. However, for more informal speech moments, these tactics can be barriers between you and your audience, so when it's time to be personal, simply speak from the heart. Knowing the purpose behind what you're saying will help you to do just that.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Being a compelling speaker.

Tune in next week for more public speaking tips from Kealah!




Kealah (KEY-la) Parkinson is a Communications Coach who teaches clients how to stop the fight-or-flight cycle early and intentionally using Key Mottos™ and other proprietary tools, as well as techniques for speaking with confidence in their businesses and personal lives. She is currently working on her third book, 365 Days of Mood Tools. Learn more at www.FindYourMotto.com.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Got Passion? It's Fundamental to Fundraising Success.

An essential ingredient for fundraising success is passion. Whatever the cause you're raising money for, you need to really believe in it. It has to truly tug at your heartstrings.


Donors give to organizations with missions that match their own priorities. The same holds true for the people raising the money: fundraisers will have more success when their organization's mission aligns with their own personal philanthropy mission.

What's your personal philanthropy mission?

You basically know what you're passionate about and what's important to you, but have you written it down in a formal statement? Just like an organization's mission statement, having a clear, concise personal philanthropy mission statement will really sum up who you are and how you want to change peoples' lives with your fundraising skills.

In her book Inspired Philanthropy, Tracy Gary helps people come up with their personal philanthropy mission statements. These statements have two parts: identifying the causes you're most passionate about, and determining how your own giving will help to forward those causes.

We're only going to focus on the first part here - identifying the causes you're most passionate about - but feel free to go the extra mile and address how your giving will help!

To come up with your personal philanthropy mission statement, ask yourself the following questions:

What values are most important to you?
What issues are you most concerned about?
If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
What are you most thankful for?
What are the biggest challenges facing our world or community that need to be solved?
Which accomplishments are you most proud of?
How do you want to be remembered?

When your personal philanthropy mission statement matches with the mission statement of the organization you're raising money for, then you've got something pretty special - and you've also got something that's crucial for fundraising success.


Bibliography

Gary, Tracy, and Nancy Adess. Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

5 Things You Can Start Doing Right Now That Will Make You a Better Fundraiser


Last week we wrote about certain people skills that will help you achieve fundraising success. Here are 5 more things you can start doing right now to help you master the art of fundraising.

1. Cultivate relationships with donors that are based on honesty, integrity, and trust.

Fundraising is all about relationships, and healthy relationships are built on trust. When a donor makes a gift, it's an act of faith. The donor is saying, "I trust you with my money. I trust that you will invest it wisely and steward it appropriately." This is something that should be taken very seriously.

Think of how you feel after you've had a negative experience in a store with a bad salesperson. After that experience, you don't buy from that store - not because you don't like the store but because you had a bad experience with the salesperson.

How to build and nurture trusting relationships with donors? Always tell donors the truth. People can sense when someone is being insincere, so always be authentic with donors. Remember that trust doesn't happen overnight; it's about consistency. If you are inconsistent in what you say and in what you do, you are going to lose trust.

2. Hone the skill of story-matching.

As a fundraiser, you have to always be finding ways to match stories. How can you match your donors' stories with your organization? What's meaningful to a donor? How and why would he or she like to contribute to your organization? Listen for what your donors are compassionate about and find a way to match that with your organization. If you can do this, you've created mutually beneficial, win-win relationships between your donors and your organization. It's also important to be able to match your donors' stories with your own stories so that you can relate to your donors and build relationships with them.

3. Work on your organization skills.

In the business of fundraising, you need to be a good manager of your time and others' time. You need to be strategic and able to zoom out and see the big picture of 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, etc. Being as organized as you can be helps you stay on track and make the most efficient use of time.

See our blogs, 5 Time Management Tips for Development Officers and 3 Reasons Why You Need A Strategic Plan.

4. Tap into your innate positivity.

Go into everything with a positive attitude. People are drawn to and energized by positive people. Be open to new or different ideas (from your staff, or from donors who want to give to your organization in unique ways). Don't say, "Oh, I don't think we can do that." Say instead, "Let me get more information and let's see how we might make that work." Let people try new ideas. If they work, great. If they don't, they don't.

5. Enhance your presentation skills.

Fundraisers need to give great presentations, both in face-to-face conversations and in front of large groups. Before any public speaking opportunity, be sure to ground yourself in your goals for the event and reach deep down to tap into the reservoir of passion that you possess for your cause. A Greek rhetorician once told me, "Andrea (On-DREY-a) if you have passion, they will follow you." Best. Advice. Ever.

Stay tuned for practical tips on public speaking in the coming weeks!

Want to learn more or find out how we can help you work on any of the 5 items above? Contact Giving Focus today.