Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
— George Bernard Shaw
As nonprofits a huge part of our work is rallying supporters to our cause. We really ought to credit them for the successes we have, because we are very little without them. We live and die on how well we build an invested tribe.
And that’s not easy. We have to become experts in cutting through the clutter to reach the people who will care and want to pitch in. No longer can we put our message out there and wait. The passive “build it and they will come” strategy we so often rely on no longer works.
Our digital tools give us an unprecedented ability to seek out and connect with the exact people we need to reach. You can find your tribe by looking for people who already share your worldview.
Inventing a Tribe
Too often though, we think we need to invent a new cause and build a new tribe from scratch. But that’s a waste of time. It’s far easier to just hook into existing tribes and connect them into yours. Your people are already out there, just waiting for you to inspire them into listening and taking action.
Short and sweet.
Empathy Maps: A Complete Guide to Crawling Inside Your [Supporter’s] Head
As Seth Godin notes above, you have to start with their existing worldview rather than yours. Building a tribe means a 180 degree turnaround to how we’re used to thinking. When you’re talking to the right people, it’s no longer about us and what we want to say, but about them and their beliefs, values and desires. How do you better understand how to connect with people?
Empathy maps can be a powerful tool to help. Although this kind of tactic can seem manipulative when practiced by advertisers, we are in the inspiration business and telling a compelling story using emotions people can relate to is how we create powerful connections. That’s not manipulation, that’s telling a good story that resonates. Building a persona of who your closest tribal members are helps you do just that.
Concrete advice for practitioners.
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