Wed, June 12 2013

The challenge and opportunity of true connection

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

In a recent commencement speech, novelist Jonathan Safran Foer lamented the risk of isolation in our wired culture. As technology becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, simple actions that have traditionally involved face-to-face communication have been transformed by apps and interfaces. As we’ve become more connected than ever, it’s become easy to avoid true connection.

For nonprofits, it’s ironic that just as we have the ability to reach so many more people in the world, it’s increasingly tempting to opt for generic messages and efficiency. Resist this urge! If we want to inspire action and support for our causes, we must continue to appeal to the emotions of our fellow man. Passion. Hope. Empathy.

So how do you ensure your digital outreach has a heartbeat? Keep these tips in mind:

Tap into emotion by featuring a human face in your communications.

Avoid jargon. Talk like a real person to connect with real people.

Make it clear that your emails, social media channels and website have a living, breathing person behind them.

Stir passion through story. Focus on an individual’s struggle and illustrate how your work has helped.

Don’t neglect the interactive part of online interaction.

There are so many ways to get it wrong, yet as agents for social change, we have the best opportunity to get it right. Use the tools of technology to amplify the heart, soul and emotion of your cause, not avoid it. Your message and mission depend on it.

(Thanks to Allison McGuire for the inspiration for this post.)

posted by: Caryn Stein

Editor’s note: While will get an updated look in the next few weeks, the team at Network for Good will continue to bring you the latest trends, tips and inspiration. Don’t worry—all of Katya Andresen’s posts will remain online and accessible just as before. Thanks for reading!

  • Comment: (2)   


I do agree that an online business can be lonely!
I started my business online to help others start their business online.  One of the fun parts of an online business is that you can connect with all sorts of people from different backgrounds and different interests.  I learn something new everyday by communicating with others on the social media platforms.  I, also contribute information so that others can learn from my experience and avoid my mistakes.

Posted by Geri Richmond  on  06/18  at  07:44 PM

Thanks for the post Caryn, there are some great tips in here. We recently started work on a non-profit’s campaign and have had a lot of success thus far. I came across your blog today and have read through quite a few pieces so far- there are some good nuggets of info.  The jargon and ‘being a real person’ tips are often neglected by marketers and really can hurt a brand’s image- those two were especially important to highlight. Thanks again.

Posted by Erik Nelson  on  06/20  at  05:09 PM

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