Testimonials Are Your Org’s MOST Powerful Voice in 2009

"………. "   

I just read this testimonial on the NYU Child Study Center site. Nothing could convince me more strongly that the Center makes a real difference in kids' lives, and is likely to be the right place for my child, should she ever need it:

"First, I want to make it clear that I am just a regular kid.

For many years, my teachers labeled me as the "troublemaker" or the "hyper" one, but what they never realized was that I was doing my best to be normal and to meet the expectations that were set. Two years ago, I made my first trip to the Child Study Center, and for the first time my daydreaming was seen as creativity, and my uniqueness my blessing.

I am glad to know that this organization may be able to reach more people like me. Just because we are dealt a different hand doesn't mean we are not winners."                                                                                                                                          –Jeremy Snyder, New York, NY

Testimonials are more powerful than ever, now that we've seen some of the things we've thought were forever fall apart. But someone's individual experience — especially someone willing to share his name — feels reliable.

Make sure you ask your base (supporters, program participants, staff too) to describe their experience with your org, at the time of. Then use those testimonials everywhere.

P.S. Follow these 7 easy steps to harness powerful testimonials for your organization.

Nancy Schwartz on January 6, 2009 in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications | 4 comments
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  • Thanks for this great posting, Nancy! Another great way to easily collect testimonials and show them to the community is through GreatNonprofits, and our new partnership with Guidestar:
    ~Shari Ilsen
    Outreach Director

  • Nancy:
    I agree with your encouragement to use testimonials. It is amazing how many sites, brochures, letters, emails, and so forth that are sent out without any of this first-hand credibility included.
    However, I would encourage cause-related organizations to take it one step further and describe the outcome of their work. Many of these organizations have been in existence for decades. Where are the people who early on benefitted from that organizaiton’s support? Where is the high school kid who received special tutoring — is she now a business leader? Where is the family who received housing assistance — are they now on their own?
    I think when taken to this extended perspective, the above testimonial of Jeremy will have a far more powerful impact on describing the impact that the NYU Child Study Center makes.
    — David Kinard

  • steve cunningham

    Nancy – great post. If I can build on your thought, I think the “home run” in gathering testimonials is to turn these into further engagement with those people. I think the Obama campaign clearly demonstrated that when you turn “your” story into “their” story, great things happen.

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