Channel Your Inner Four-Year Old


If you’ve ever spent any time with four-year-olds, you know one of their favorite words is why. You’ll answer their question, but they’ll keep responding with why again and again……

A lot of nonprofit communication isn’t focused on why something is important.  Besides being organization-centered, it often rambles on about accomplishments with no explanation of why something matters.

Nonprofit organizations need to channel their inner four-year-old and start focusing on why.

Why is what you do important?

Here’s something you might see in a newsletter or annual report.

We expanded our tutoring program to three more high schools.

Okay, why is that important?

To serve more students.

That’s good, but why is that important?

After six months of weekly tutoring sessions, 85% of the students in our program are reading at or above grade level.

There you go.  Tell your donors about the impact you’re making.

Why should someone donate to your organization?

Do your appeals focus on why it’s important to donate to your organization?  Instead of saying something generic like please donate to our annual appeal, tell a story emphasizing why someone should donate to your organization.

Jenna, a 10th grader at Harrison High School, used to hate reading.  She struggled with the words and was embarrassed she couldn’t read very well. Then she started weekly tutoring sessions with Kim, a volunteer tutor.  Now Jenna is reading at her grade level and even likes to read.

Again, focus on why.

Why is your donor’s gift valuable?

When you thank your donors, do you tell them why their gift is valuable?  Give a specific example.

Thank you so much. Your generous gift of $50 will help cover the expenses of five one-to-one weekly tutoring sessions. After six months of these tutoring sessions, 85% of the students in our program are reading at or above grade level.

It’s all about the why.

Why do you appreciate your donors?

Finally, do your donors know why you appreciate them?

Thank you so much for doing your part in helping high school students boost their reading skills. We couldn’t do this without you.

Start channeling your inner four-year old and keep asking why.

Photo by Jordan Conway


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s