What is your superpower? This is a favorite question of my colleague, Jon Stahl, and when he asks it, what he’s really talking about is value proposition. And not just some vague value proposition, like, “we protect the environment,” but more along the lines of what can you do for me today? Wonder Woman, for example, fights crime, but her superpowers? Invisible plane, “lasso of truth” and, hello, magic bracelets. I’m on board with the fighting crime part, but more likely to pay attention if I can get a ride in the invisible plane.
Competing for Time, Attention, and Money
As nonprofit organizations, we all have missions, we all have expertise related to our mission issue, and we all depend on other people who care about our missions to get the work done.
In a perfect world we would not have to compete for the time, attention and pocketbooks of those on whom we depend. We’d have all the support we needed and we’d achieve our missions in no time. Comic book villains defeated. Climate change fixed. Toxics outlawed. Urban sprawl, deforestation, disappearing biodiversity – all of that stuff would be a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, the world’s not perfect yet, and all of those good people who care (or would care) about our work have loads of other things on their minds, schedules and budgets.
You Are Special
So how do you build relationships with these folks, make them prioritize your cause, better engage them in your work? One excellent way is to use your unique expertise, access, skills – whatever you’re super at – to provide a product, service or experience that really matters to your target audience. Develop an engagement superpower.