The Secret to Strong Connections- Find Your Real Voice & Share It

Does your organization have a distinctive voice?

Months and months ago, my husband Sean and I snagged tickets to a Rosanne Cash (singer/songwriter and Johnny’s daughter) concert.

We bought the tickets six months pre-show and, as we waited, I started to follow Rosanne on Twitter.

She’s a Twitter natural, conveying a deep sense of her perspective and personality. For example, one March afternoon, she tweeted that her bus broke down en route to play at Folsom prison (where her Dad had so famously played). Through the tweets that followed, I got a clear sense of how she thinks, feels and speaks as she shared what the experience meant to her. I felt I got to know her a bit.

That kind of connection is what nonprofit communications is all about. Rosanne on Twitter reinforces what I advise but seldom see–the critical importance of finding your real voice as an individual speaking for an organization (incorporating elements of both personalities) and using it on the channels that fit it (only those your target audiences prefer, of course). And doing it in a full way, so that you are putting yourself (and the organization) out there to be known. That’s what gives your target audiences something they can relate to.

What’s your organization’s voice and how did you find it? How do you use it? Please share your stories here.

P.S. Rosanne was gracious enough to meet with me after her fantastic show and told me about the three charities she is actively committed to.

Nancy Schwartz on May 26, 2011 in Branding and Messages | 7 comments
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  • Its a good point, but I think Rosanne had an advantage as she was tweeting as herself (not an individual representing an organisation) – that is so hard to do and difficult to manage when people move on. Does the personality of the organisation go with them? Does their personality dominate over that of the organisation? Like you, I can’t think of any great organisational twitterers that aren’t situations where the individual pretty much is the owner/driving force/face of the organisation. Would love to see some examples if people have them to share.

  • Nancy Schwartz

    You’re right, Grant – Rosanne does have it easier voice wise as an individual reaching out via Twitter. Less conflict, no perpetuity issues, no cultural mess.

    But what is a must for organizations – despite the personal vs. organizational voice challenge – is to find a voice…perhaps one that is replicable, and use it. I see that in outreach from Environmental Working Group…and the voice is consistent although emails, tweets and facebook posts come from a variety of individuals. They’re a great example to follow and be inspired by.

    Do other readers have strong-voiced organizations to point to?

  • Jacqueline Way

    Sam Davidson did a great article today on finding your voice as well. It has taken me some time to find my voice but thank goodness to social media I am having a chance to see how my voice sounds. ( this is not through my singing to say the least ) but I have found it through giving. 365give is my voice. I has given me a chance to share how I feel about giving back to the world. Giving is my passion and when I got past my fear and decided to take a leap of faith and blog about my giving it has been some of the happiest moments of my life. Finding your voice brings you to that great place of wisdom we all aim to get to before we die. It also bring you pure happiness when you are able to express it in your own unique way. Find your voice and use it. We all have something of value to share. Thanks for the great story!

  • Nancy Schwartz

    The personal/professional satisfaction of feeling comfortable with the organizational voice is meaningful, Jacqueline. Thanks for that reminder.

    Could you share the URL of Sam’s article? Thanks!

  • I think about this a lot. Recognising that there is generally a good deal of uncertainty about how to represent the charity brand personally, last year I put the question out there, and summarised the responses in this post.

    Earlier this month, I asked “Shall we flow?”, with some musings on the importance (I believe) of sharing stories ‘in the moment’, for maximum impact.

    Very interested to read what others are posting here.

  • Nancy Schwartz

    Steve, thanks so much for sharing your post (and responses) and adding to the conversation. I think this will be an ongoing issue for pondering and discussion!

  • Jacqueline Way

    Sorry for the delay Donna here is Sam Davidson’s article enjoy http://samdavidson.net/heart-sing/

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