[Dalya's Note: This is an excerpt from my award-winning book, Writing to Make a Difference: 25 Powerful Techniques to Boost Your Community Impact.]
Ask yourself: What is amazing, special, inspiring, stimulating, and unique about your organization’s work?
You probably know more than most people do about the many outstanding public-benefit organizations improving your community. In this way, you are truly blessed and inspired. However, all of those organizations inevitably encounter competition for all kinds of resources. Everyone needs financial backing, people-power, public attention, market share, etc.
To make your organization stand out, you need to highlight what distinguishes it from similar groups. You must show how your organization is uniquely positioned to address a specific need that your community has expressed.
For instance: Does your organization deal with a particular aspect of an issue that no one else focuses on? Do you have a breakthrough approach or method? Do you work with a severely underserved community? Do you offer a product or service that solves a compelling social problem but is not readily available anywhere else? Do you have a history that has positioned you as the ‘go-to’ organization in your community for years?
Those distinguishing characteristics are key parts of your brand and bear repeating (over and over again).
“‘When ‘Get Well Soon’ seems a bit out of place, Kimo Kards™ are cancer recovery greeting cards that have just the right words to help a friend or loved one through the difficult journey of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Our messages are positive: designed to encourage and inspire men, women and children in different ways, including humor, scripture, and empowering words. Every card is ‘Created by Survivors for Survivors.’”
Your uniqueness must be so clear — and so relevant to your readers’ individual or community lives — that it gets noticed and gets people talking about you. This defining quality of your organization makes you the best choice for your readers to support or work with.
Ask yourself: What makes your organization different?
International Development Exchange (IDEX) answers the Frequently Asked Question, “How is IDEX different from other international organizations?”:
“Since its inception in 1985, IDEX has made it a priority to support economic development initiatives in a way that is quite different from traditional large-scale philanthropy and prevailing models of global aid that are often top-down, paternalistic, and money-centered. IDEX’s grantmaking model has evolved over the years, but remains focused on:
- The value of community-based solutions and the wisdom of local leaders who are grounded in their communities.
- Providing multi-year unrestricted grants so that local partner organizations can apply funds where most needed and can plan for the future.
- Providing additional resources as opportunities arise. This may include participation in conferences in the U.S. or elsewhere or facilitating connections to fair trade organizations.”
Some ways organizations have traditionally set themselves apart from the pack include:
- personal service and attention to detail
- outstanding credentials, experience, or clientele
And as a public-benefit organization, you probably can also talk about qualities such as:
- socially responsible sourcing and trading
- environmental responsibility
- a leading-edge point of view
Your uniqueness is whatever your ideal readers really want and are concerned about but cannot easily get elsewhere. Once you identify those unique selling points, you can begin to incorporate them in your brand.
You might even take this idea one step further by showing how your work in conjunction or coalition with others in your field sets your organization apart.
If your organization is “too unique” (special in unfamiliar ways) you may generate initial resistance. Try to relate your work to things your intended readers already know and trust.