January 19, 2015
Your Voice and Your Cause – Reflecting on MLK Day
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the holiday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, legacy, and commitment to nonviolent social change, service, justice, and freedom.
At Highway Twenty, we’re privileged to work daily for people committed to taking actions — often courageous and heroic — that forward the type of cause-driven work to which Dr. King committed his life. Today, we’re thinking deeply about King’s legacy of effective communication.
Every day we develop innovative strategies to help our clients grow their organizations through effective marketing. We work for causes that make a difference, and are dedicated to assisting our clients to find the “voice” that will shape their marketing.
We’re proud to represent organizations actively extending the civil liberties and human rights work that Dr. King championed like Equality Arizona, a statewide advocacy organization for LGBTQ rights, and the Native American Rights Fund, a national organization with decades of legal work in defense of Native American rights.
Inspired by Dr. King and his amazing ability to communicate a vision for a better world, here are three tips for nonprofits and other cause-driven organizations to find their voice.
Speak your truth through personal stories.
Storytelling is a marketing buzzword, but it’s also a tried and true method for creating social change. Research has shown that a personal story is an effective tactic that can change minds.
People are often overwhelmed by the scope of the problems nonprofit organizations are trying to solve. Personal stories humanize an issue and make it easier to grasp. A story doesn’t have to be dramatic – it just has to be true.
It’s this strategy that has grown Humans of New York (HONY) to nearly 12 million Facebook followers and a bestselling book. HONY’s mission is simply to share the stories of New Yorkers from every walk of life. Snippets of information encapsulate a person’s struggles and triumphs. These stories can move people to action; and in fact, HONY readers have raised money for strangers in need.
Share your vision of a better world.
Dr. King famously shared his dream of a world of equal opportunity. King painted a picture of where he wanted his movement to end. He told the story of what the future would look like when his mission succeeded.
People want to hear your vision. They want to know the long term goals of your organization and how it will impact the present and future. Putting a positive spin on information like this can help it travel faster and further.
Boldly share your passion.
Dr. King was unabashedly passionate. His energy couldn’t be contained. This is what drew people to him, and his movement.
Most people who work in nonprofits are there because they care deeply about the communities they serve. Energy can be in short supply at cash- and time-strapped organizations.
Finding time for volunteers, donor, and staff to share why they give their time and money through blog or social media posts is effective marketing and a way to reignite passion. And passion is infectious.
We wish everyone a restful and contemplative MLK day. We’re taking the day to reflect on our good fortune, our amazing clients, and the privilege of working with organizations improving our community every day.
– Highway Twenty staff