Many communicators, in both the commercial and non-profit marketplaces, tend to confuse messaging and communication. According to Ronn Torossian, President of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, and CEO of 5W Public Relations, communication is not just delivering a message. Communication only happens when that message is captured, understood, and becomes transformative. This definition of communication is even more imperative in the realm of charity work, because so much of the dynamic depends on the audience truly buying into the message and the mission.
Torossian said, where many non profit PR people miss it is by making the message one dimensional. Everyone knows to write for the right audience, but do they know how to connect on every level? Because understanding is much more than skin deep.
Understanding is intellectual. People need to understand the message in a way that grabs their attention, gets them thinking, and keeps them thinking. Your message should not just land and evaporate. It must sink in, take root, and get people to continue to ponder both the issue at hand, and how you are solving it.
Understanding is also emotional, intellect alone is not enough. You have to connect with both hemispheres of the brain. It’s easy to get an immediate emotional response, but does your audience understand your message on a level that not only invokes a response, but also triggers a connection that leads to action? The key step here is to craft a message in a way that invites the audience to act, and gives them a concrete opportunity to do so.
Understanding is also physical. When your audience truly understands, they will “feel it in their bones.” They will have a definite and lasting physical reaction to the message that makes action both necessary and pleasurable. They will get up and DO, both because they feel they must, and because it makes them happy to do so.
Your goal should be to communicate your message in a way that is understood on all of these levels. When you can connect in this way, your fundraising will be more successful, your volunteers will be more excited, and your staff will be more connected to the mission.