BBQ Circuit

Tis the season where not only politicians are making the rounds in the backyard bbq circuit, but also those from various non-profits are touring around keeping their donors up to speed on what their cause is doing.

Here are four things I try and keep in mind while on the bbq circuit.

1. Stories – This is how people connect best with your cause. Most donors aren’t interested in all the details. Pick 1-3 short, changed lives stories that paint a picture of what your cause is all about and tell those stories. I’ve found you’ve got to be able to tell the story in only a couple of minutes before people start losing interest. Focus in on showing a contrast of how someone’s life was drastically changed because of the intersection with your cause.

2. Life on the ground – The day to day things you take for granted like what it’s like at the shelter, how the weather is on the other side of the world and what students do on campus for fun are all things your donors are intrigued by. It’s old hat to us on the inside, but donors have a curiosity about what life is like for you. Paint a picture of the environment you work in and are likely trying to change.

3. Photos – Having some print outs or something on your tablet is helpful. Not all 976 photos from the past year, but 2 or 3. These are great aids in demonstrating 1 and 2 above in personal conversations. If you’re lucky enough to be using some kind of projection for a group, photos, not bullet points will tell the story best.

4. Short – Let’s be honest, most people came because of the hamburgers, ice cream or watermelon. They do care about you and want to see you, but don’t really care for hearing you drone on for hours about every little detail. They’re hungry, busy and want to go about their lives. Being able to cast a vision by hitting the high points might actually be your bet at seeing donors continue on with your team, not sharing the gory details.

What tips have you found helpful on the backyard bbq circuit for your cause?


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