4 questions, 3 words, 1 message

At the NDOA Spring Conference, I gave a presentation on Using Messaging to Engage your Community.

I challenged the group to pick three words that define and differentiate their organization. And then weave those into their messaging across all platforms–elevator pitch, social media, brochures, case for support. You name it. Those three words should come through. Concise, consistent, compelling. That’s what this approach gets you. That’s why it’s effective.

Here are the four questions to ask to get you to the three words:

  1. Why do you exist?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why you?
  4. Why now?

What are your answers? What are your three words?


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  1. At Sound Learning (used to be Mason County Literacy), we were led through a very good process and did, indeed, come upon 3 words that define the mission: Educate, Succeed, Contribute.

    “We educate adults so they will succeed and contribute to our community.” The process was very effective in focusing board and staff on our evolving mission.

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