Have you ever noticed distinct personalities in the nonprofit letters you get? I find myself imaging organizational personas as I read.
Here are a few.
Let’s imagine a party. Glass in hand, you mingle with the crowd. Who do you meet?
In the center of the room is the Lord-Of-All-He-Surveys. A letter from him often reads something like:
“Our organization is pleased to celebrate the wonderful work we have done in the community. In our nearly 500 years, we have truly earned the esteem of our colleagues, who look to us as leaders in our field. Our… “
Amazingly enough, this guy has people gathered around him. I’m not sure why. Not my type, that’s for sure!
Then there’s Mousy Girl, sitting in the corner, looking sort of sad. You know you ought to be nice and say hello. But when you do, she mumbles a sentence or two, then tails off before actually saying anything. You can almost hear her thinking, “Oh, never mind me”. It’s a shame. You rarely hear from her – maybe once a year. So you don’t know much about her. And you probably never will unless you really work at it.
Watch out for the dreaded Suction Cup – he’s at 12 o’clock and headed your way! If you pay him any mind at all, he’ll stick to you ferociously. Which might sound nice except he hasn’t got anything to say that you want to hear. He’s blissfully oblivious to that. You made the mistake of responding one time. Now you hear from him at least once a week. It’s always urgent and never interesting. He calls you “friend”. As in “Dear Friend”.
You fantasize about fixing him up with someone else…
…Maybe with the Bill Collector. He doesn’t so much talk with you as make demands. And he doesn’t understand why you never respond. The thing is, he often has interesting things to say. At first he was quite charming. But now you only hear from him when he wants money. “Thanks for your past support. But we won’t close our budget without another gift. Send it today!”
And there she is! Across the room you spot the person you’ve been looking for. Your Bestie. She’s chatty and warm and so easy to talk to. You bonded from the start. She’s genuinely interested in you – and of course, that makes her fascinating.
When you met, you found yourself listening – spellbound – as she shared a problem that was really bothering her. It was such a great story. It made you want to help. In fact, you couldn’t stop thinking about the problem. When you found a way to help her, you felt great. And when she called the next day, full of surprise and gratitude – well, you knew you’d be friends for a long time.
She makes you feel like a hero. Who could resist?
What’s your organization’s persona? Who do you see in your mailbox?
Share your personas in the comments!