I have a crush…his name is Simon Sinek. He is a British-American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant and the author of several books including the bestseller “Start with Why”.
Sinek contends that people do not support you or your organization because of what you do or how you do it – rather they support you and your organization because of why you do it. When you can tell people your purpose, your cause, or your belief and it aligns with what they also believe that is when they can connect, engage, act, and give.
Often our organizations tell the world what they do or how they do it. Everyone thinks in those terms. We ask each other things like “what do you do” or “how is that done”? But what if we flipped the script and told people why we do what we do. For example - I could say I am a fundraiser for higher education. It is true it is what I do and have done for the majority of my career. But what if instead I said I have devoted my career to helping people pursue their dreams. Which statement would resonate with you more?
Do you know your why? What inspires you to do what you do? Having a Why Statement gives you confidence - it is your purpose. It reminds you and motivates you to drive forward. It becomes your brand – it is how you show up every day.
Getting Started -
Start by writing down all the things in your life that motivate you, get you excited, and/or give you energy. Make this list as big as you can. If that seems too broad – just focus on your current job. What do you do that you love? What task do you do and you lose track of time when you are doing it? What makes you feel fulfilled? And then ask yourself why do you love it? Be specific. If writing a meaningful acknowledgement letter is something you love – stop and ask yourself why? If it is planning an amazing event that will bring your donor to tears – ask yourself why is that important to me?
Getting to your “why” is powerful. Simon Sinek said once, “I imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling that they have contributed to something greater than themselves.” As non-profit professionals we are making a difference. We are changing the world. We are creating opportunities. We are contributing to something greater than ourselves. Do you feel fulfilled every day? If not, then maybe the first question should be “why”.
Go find your “why” and if you need help let us know.