Part 1 – Reframe the Narrative

  • Part 1 – Reframe the Narrative

    Posted by Joshua on March 11, 2024 at 5:45 am

    Here we go friends!

    In the first part of this week’s challenge, you’re going to get some practice revising your donor comms and using asset-based language.

    This can be a little uncomfortable and maybe a little hard. And that’s OK. This is a safe space to try, to fail, to get better, to grow. It’s ok to make mistakes or not get it right the first time.

    Ready? Here’s the challenge.

    Start by selecting two pieces of your recent communication materials – whatever you’ve got handy, maybe a donor appeal letter and a social media post.

    Your challenge is to rewrite these materials using asset-based language. Focus on highlighting the strengths, aspirations, and contributions of the individuals or communities you’re supporting. Instead of emphasizing what they lack or the obstacles they face, spotlight their resilience, capabilities, and potential.

    Here’s why:

    This exercise pushes you to view your communication through a lens that respects and values the communities you work with. It’s a step towards building more equitable relationships between your nonprofit, its donors, and the communities you serve. By focusing on positive attributes and systemic solutions, you’re not only aligning your messaging with the dignity of those you aim to help but also engaging donors in a more hopeful, empowering narrative.

    You can check out Frank’s worksheet to see some examples of how to reframe deficit language into asset-based language.

    Show your work by including your revised copy in the comments below. 👇

    And if your organization doesn’t do the sort of front-line work that lends itself to deficit language … that’s OK!

    Try rewriting the fundraising letter and social media post pasted below. (Note: the letter and social post are not meant to be examples of good fundraising. There is a LOT wrong with them, not the least of which is the deficit-based language!)


    Dear Donor,

    I come to you today with a desperate plea on behalf of the vulnerable families we serve at Feeding Springfield. The situation has become dire, and we are in urgent need of your support.

    The number of homeless children and mothers in our community has reached a staggering level, and they are utterly powerless in the face of hunger and despair. These innocent lives are need help.

    Please make a gift today to feed a hungry mom and her kids.

    Without your gift, they will be left to suffer unimaginable hardships.

    Every day, we witness the heart-wrenching scenes of children crying themselves to sleep, their stomachs aching with emptiness. Mothers, unable to provide for their little ones, are forced to watch as their children’s health deteriorates before their eyes. The anguish and desperation in their eyes haunt us, and we cannot turn our backs on them.

    We are their last hope, but our resources have been exhausted. We are on the brink of having to close our doors and abandon these defenseless families to their fate. The thought of leaving them alone, with no one to turn to, is unbearable.

    Your donation, no matter how small, can be the lifeline these families so desperately need. Just $50 can provide a glimmer of hope and nourishment for a child, while $100 can keep a mother and her children from succumbing to the ravages of hunger.

    Please, if you’re able, make a gift to help these vulnerable souls. They are counting on your compassion and generosity to survive. Without you, they will be left to fend for themselves in a world that has turned its back on them.

    We cannot do this without you. Your donation is the only thing standing between these families and the abyss of despair. Please, don’t let them down.

    Thank you for your consideration. Together, we can bring a ray of light into the lives of these struggling families and show them that they are not alone.


    Ned Flanders
    Executive Director, Feeding Springfield


    🚨URGENT: The homeless children and mothers of Springfield need your help! 🚨

    At Feeding Springfield, we’re struggling to keep up with the growing number of vulnerable families facing hunger. These defenseless children and mothers need your help today!

    Your donation can be a lifeline:

    💸 $50 provides a week of meals for a child

    💸 $100 feeds a mother and her children for days

    We can’t do this without you. Please, help us ensure no child or mother goes to bed hungry. Donate now and bring hope to those who need it most.

    🔗[Link to donation page]

    #FeedingSpringfield #EndHunger #HopeForTheFuture

    Joshua replied 1 month ago 3 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Frank Velasquez

    March 11, 2024 at 6:22 pm

    Hello everyone! I’m here to help y’all this week! Give it a try! I bet it’ll be easier than you think!!

  • Benjamin

    March 12, 2024 at 9:52 am

    At Feeding Springfield, we work with some of the most inspiring, resourceful and resilient people you will ever have the chance to meet. Despite challenges that would obliterate most of us, our guests are just one square meal away from achieving their full potential.

    Which is where you can help:

    $50 provides a week of meals for a child

    $100 feeds a mother and her children for days

    Your donation will help these proud and capable people give back to a society that you can prove values their contribution.

    Will you empower these legends in waiting?

    • Frank Velasquez

      March 12, 2024 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Benjamin:

      I love the tone! The only thing I would give as feedback, is to give more details about what the challenges are that would “obliterate” most of us. Name them. It’s okay to name them because you’ve already led with their aspirations, etc.

      The other thing is the levels of ask. There isn’t anything wrong, per se, about what you’re asking for. It kind of comes off as a “transaction” which is what we don’t want. It’s just a trick the brain does. So I would find a better way to get donors to give where they feel it’s less a transaction and more an investment in their community.

      • Benjamin

        March 13, 2024 at 6:39 am

        Nice comments Frank, thanks. Transactional is a trap… But reframing is a fun exercise. I came across it doing grant writing for a charity working with people with intellectual disabilities. A few days in the room with that group and you don’t see any suffering, just a joyful exuberance for life that the rest of society puts up barrier to them enjoying. Loving this forum… and @josh-alcorn is a great organizer.

        • Joshua

          March 13, 2024 at 8:36 am

          Ah thanks @benjamin-pawson. So glad you’re a part of this community!

      • Joshua

        March 13, 2024 at 8:35 am

        I also love the tone! For the gift ask amounts, this is also something that’s hard. Would something like ‘$50 keeps a kid’s belly full for a week — so he can focus on his school work’ work? Putting the emphasis on the transformational outcome the donor makes possible?

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