“swallow your cause”

Sharyn Sutton was trying to figure out how to explain the importance of thinking about your audience’s perspective rather than just preaching from your perspective–a process she calls “swallowing your cause.”

So for her address to a high-profile conference on care for the dying, she began her remarks by asking, “What are you doing to make sure our kids are better educated? The schools need help, and there is nothing more important than our children and their education.”

That is, she preached at them, just like many nonprofits preach our message.

And of course, people thought she was nuts. The message didn’t speak to her audience.

That was the point. She wanted to demonstrate that to effectively communicate a message, you need to get over your own passion and position and understand the perspective from your audience’s position.

You need to swallow your cause.

It all goes back to the first rule of organizing: Start where your audience is, not where you are or where you want them to be.

(Thank you to Katya Anderson‘s Robin Hood Marketing for another good insight into good cause communication.)

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