The Best Thing You Can Do TODAY
It’s a long way from “I like you” to the altar. Where is the love?
Ask yourself if you’re trying too often to rush to the altar without an engagement. If you’re wondering why those folks who… “liked” you on Facebook… gave after being strong-armed by their friends… bought a silent auction item while first-time event attendees… are not taking the next step and becoming ongoing supporters, then take a step back. Don’t Put the Fundraising Cart before the Friendraising Horse.You may be trying to force a relationship where none yet exists.
Sure, there are marriages (in name only) that happen without engagement. Folks may ‘marry’ as the result of a shotgun wedding, a business arrangement or a quick trip to Vegas in the heat of the moment, but these are not the marriages of which dreams are made. There is a vast difference between these transactional marriages and lasting, devoted relationships. Because transactions are made so easily in this digital age, we sometimes forget what’s important. Engagement that leads to lasting marriage requires a human touch and connection.
You must go through the engagement phase if you want a lasting pledge of faith and commitment. This is when friends and family get introduced. If properly stewarded, they sing your praises high and low. They invest passionately in your vision. This is what creates a community of folks who share something in common and who come together in support of their shared devotion.
|Cartoon by Hugh MacLeod, Gaping Void|
Once engaged, it’s time to build support. You should be cultivating evangelists who will spread the word among their networks. To achieve this requires: (1) clearly sharing your mission, vision and values (2) with folks who are like-minded and (3) who you knoware like-minded. This is IMPORTANT. I repeat: You must do all three things to get to engagement:
1. Tell a compelling, relevant story that resonates.
While remembering the importance of engagement, we must remember it’s not our end goal. To get that ring on our finger requires creating a yearning that leads to investment. If we want to sustain that investment we must go beyond yearning to create the deeper connection that leads to loyalty.