YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME HERE

Communications Manual

Updated January 2015


Table of Contents

  1. Overview        3

  1. The Engagement Process        4

  1. Features and Benefits        5

  1. Making the Connection        7

  1. Putting It All Together        9

  1. Building and Delivering a Pitch
  1. One-Liners        10
  2. Elevator Pitch        12
  3. One-on-One Meetings        13
  4. Speech        14
  5. Written Communication        14

  1. Practice        15

  1. Grant Writing
  1. Tailoring Your Grant        16
  2. Common Questions and Answers        16

Overview

The purpose of this Communication Manual is to provide tools to connect with and speak about Your Organization in any situation.

Some of the concepts in this manual may be new and may take practice, but the concepts will build up to give you a robust understanding of strong, influential communication.

Why is it important to have strong, influential communication skills? Because communicating with purpose and connection can be the difference between a yes and a no. The techniques discussed in this manual will help you find ways to not just communicate, but to ENGAGE and CONNECT.

Whether you are having casual conversations or you are applying for a grant, your influence can be exponentially increased with strategy and practice.

Engagement

How can you ensure purposeful interaction with others? Through engagement.

  • Establish rapport
  • Get their attention
  • Make the connection
  • What are the challenges?
  • What are the implications to you?
  • What can you offer?
  • How can your ideas help?
  • Do they address their issues?
  • Get a commitment or promise
  • Make a deal or agreement

Why is engagement important in professional communication?

Engagement...

What does the Engagement Process look like at Your Organization?

“Hi! My name is Jane with Your Org! What brings you to the convention today?”

“My foundation is looking for opportunities to get involved in youth development.”

“That is great! Supporting and developing youth is actually a huge part of what Your Org does.”

“Really! What does Your Org do?”

“ORGANIZATION develops young people in the urban neighborhoods of Nairobi into sales agents. Not only do they learn valuable skills and make a living, but they are also providing sustainable products to their neighborhoods!”

“Wow, that is incredible. If my company wants to get more involved, would be directly helping the kids?”

“Since we are working in Nairobi, Kenya, you will not. But the benefit of our organization is that our assistance is not sporadic; rather, our work creates a way for the young people to better themselves and the world around them.”

“So your investment in ORGANIZATION is long-lasting. Can we schedule a meeting at this conference to discuss more about how your foundation can get involved?”

“Absolutely.”


Understanding Features versus Benefits

Features and benefits are important when communicating your brand to others. The definitions are not necessarily the difficult part when using features and benefits; rather, it is figuring out the best time to use each one.

A feature is a factual statement about your organization. This tells your audience what you do and how you go about doing it. Features are backed up by evidence and may include statistics.

A benefit answers the question of, “What’s in it for me?” The benefits sell your audience to take action and/or support your organization. Where features tell your audience what you do or how you do it, benefits describe why you do it.

Features of ORGANIZATION:

Benefits of ORGANIZATION:


When do you choose a feature or a benefit?

Question

To Inform

(When financials need to be considered, facts need to be stated, in a grant application, etc.)

To Influence

(During the final rounds of interviews, in a short face-to-face interaction, in a grant application, etc.)

How is ORGANIZATION sustainable?

The goal to sustainability is growth by covering all expenses through earned income selling life-improving products to slum residents throughout Kenya.

ORGANIZATION not only provides Kenyan slums with sustainable and life-changing products, but it also creates an environment in which youth can work their way out of poverty.

How has ORGANIZATION been successful?

238 jobs have been created and more than $115,000 in earned income has been made so far.

More than 200 young lives have been fundamentally changed thus far and through the sustainable products those young people have sold, those sustainable products have improved lives in the slums.

Why did you get involved with ORGANIZATION?

I have seen 300 young people in Kenya work their way out of poverty through ORGANIZATION. With a projection to have more than 3,000 employed in 2018, I want to be part of something great...and this is it!

We have kept 300 young adults off of the streets and enabled them to feel secure and valued by making an honest living.


Making the Connection Model

Making the connection is important because it establishes commonality, empathy and a relationship.

Here is an introduction to the model.

Take the Lead

  • Know where you want to go
  • Take the lead with the discussion
  • Express your own point of view in an engaging manner for strong impact
  • Exercise your belief and rights without violating those of others
  • Instead of asking if someone wants to meet to learn more, make the assumption and ask when they would like to meet.
  • Taking the lead in a conversation help you avoid being sidetracked and stay focused.

See Things from Other’s Point of View

  • Understand their goals/agenda
  • Speak their language
  • Identify possible obstacles
  • Look at it from both sides
  • What’s their pain - eliminate it
  • Show empathy
  • Use empathy to your advantage. If you know the other person’s objections, address them directly.
  • Do research ahead of time to anticipate objections, align your pitch, and avoid silly questions.

Question Effectively

  • Draw the other person into the conversation fully
  • Ask powerful questions
  • Show you are interested
  • Ask questions that matter
  • Don’t assume anything
  • Crave understanding        
  • Asking good questions will help you shape your selling points to connect with the other party. When you are looking for ways to gain understanding, sometimes the best thing you can ask is “why.”

Listen Productively

  • Stop talking, start listening, pay attention
  • Understand what they’re really saying
  • Briefly summarize what you heard
  • Read the cues and evaluate behaviors
  • Sometimes we are so passionate that instead of listening, we plan our next speaking point. Strive to really listen to the other person. Non-verbals such as nodding can illustrate your investment and engagement in the conversation.
  • Use cues to figure out which type of communication you should use (a one-liner if time is factor or a benefit to peak the other person’s interest.

Be Authentic & Accountable

  • Show respect, be genuine and establish trust
  • Express your own feelings
  • Approach challenges with optimistic determination
  • Develop creative solutions and see them through
  • Conflict needs empathy
  • We all face challenges. Instead of avoiding the challenges ORGANIZATION’ faces, use that opportunity to talk about obstacles at ORGANIZATION and how you are addressing them. This demonstrates ORGANIZATION’ ability to adapt and respond to adversity.

Establish Shared Ownership

  • Explore the possibilities together
  • Appeal to your mutual interests and get to where you both want to go
  • Help the other person solve their problem
  • Let it be their idea and involve them along the way
  • Commit jointly to take action
  • Create unity for long-lasting results
  • Find ways to align ORGANIZATION with the other’s goals. By doing this, you assume that if ORGANIZATION wins, the other party wins as well.
  • Follow up with the other person as well as keeping your commitments. This builds trust.

Here is how you can apply the Making the Connection Model to your work at ORGANIZATION.

Take the Lead

  • Know where you want to go
  • Take the lead with the discussion
  • Express your own point of view in an engaging manner for strong impact
  • Exercise your belief and rights without violating those of others
  • “You mentioned you wanted to address poverty on a global scale. Let me tell you how ORGANIZATION does that and more.”
  • “When can my co-director and I meet with your panel about to discuss this grant?”

See Things from Other’s Point of View

  • Understand their goals/agenda
  • Speak their language
  • Identify possible obstacles
  • Look at it from both sides
  • What’s their pain - eliminate it
  • Show empathy
  • “It makes sense that you want to support an organization that has a strong five-year plan. This grant is an investment on your part. Let me talk you through how ORGANIZATION is a sound and smart investment.”

Question Effectively

  • Draw the other person into the conversation fully
  • Ask powerful questions
  • Show you are interested
  • Ask questions that matter
  • Don’t assume anything
  • Crave understanding        
  • “After doing research, I noticed that most of your award recipients are relatively new organizations. If you could pick one characteristic that makes all of these organizations winners, what would it be?”

Listen Productively

  • Stop talking, start listening, pay attention
  • Understand what they’re really saying
  • Briefly summarize what you heard
  • Read the cues and evaluate behaviors
  • “I can tell you only have a couple of minutes. ORGANIZATION makes it possible for youth in Kenya to work their way out of poverty while providing sustainable products to the communities around them. Would you like to hear more?”

Be Authentic & Accountable

  • Show respect, be genuine and establish trust
  • Express your own feelings
  • Approach challenges with optimistic determination
  • Develop creative solutions and see them through
  • Conflict needs empathy
  • “We realize that so far we have not obtained as many multi-year grants as one-time awards. However, as we prove our sustainability through our Proof of Scale and Growth and Scale, we hope to find ways to appeal to more foundations that offer multi-year grants.”

Establish Shared Ownership

  • Explore the possibilities together
  • Appeal to your mutual interests and get to where you both want to go
  • Help the other person solve their problem
  • Let it be their idea and involve them along the way
  • Commit jointly to take action
  • Create unity for long-lasting results
  • “Because of your grant in 2014, we helped 100 young people work their way out of poverty. Thank you. Here are the challenges we now face and how we can work together in 2015 to address them.”


Putting It All Together

Engage

Un-Wrap

Show

Hook

Feature or Benefit?

Benefits work best here because they grab the other person’s attention and make a quick connection.

Features help you uncover the challenges or objections of the other person.

A good mix of features and benefits will allow you to illustrate how ORGANIZATION is a good fit for the other person.

Benefits here will allow you to leave a longer lasting impression with the other person.

What do you say/do?

One-liners, pitches, and elevator speeches work really well to engage.

Questioning effectively and listening productively can help you un-wrap the situation and how you can connect.

Based on what you un-wrapped, use features and benefits to address their questions and concerns.

Take the lead by suggesting the next step and have shared ownership of the new partnership.

Example

We help the jobless youth of Kenyan slums create substantial livings by selling life-changing products in the slums where such products are nearly unattainable.

What do the recipients of your grants have in common?

ORGANIZATION is sustainable in two ways. The most obvious is by making products like clean-burning stoves and solar powered lamps available to distribution gap communities. The less obvious is that we create sales network of slum youth that help them work their way out of poverty.

It sounds like your foundation’s goals and those of ORGANIZATION are very much aligned. When can we schedule a time to meet with your selection committee?


Building and Delivering a Pitch

There are many different ways you will need to communicate with others on behalf of ORGANIZATION. They include:

One-Liners

Steve Blank's XYZ

Template:

“We help X do Y doing Z.”

Example:

We help the jobless youth of Kenyan slums create substantial livings by selling life-changing products in the slums where such products are nearly unattainable.

Dave McClure's Elevator Ride

Template:

Examples:

Eric Sink's Value Positioning

Template:

Superlative ("why choose this product").

Label ("what is this product").

Qualifiers ("who should choose this product").

Example:

The most sustainable way to revitalize Kenyan youth and improve slum communities.

The VAD approach

Template:

[verb; application; differentiator]

Examples:


Elevator Speech

Steps to craft an elevator pitch:

  1. Start with “why”. Your first sentence should address your organization's purpose.
  1. Example: More than half a million young people in Kenya are unemployed but extremely talented and motivated; and, the communities in which they live are underserved and in desperate need of more sustainable products.

  1. State the problem. What is ORGANIZATION trying to solve? Why does ORGANIZATION need to exist?
  1. Example: Without opportunities to work and shop, these Kenyan slums are not given a sustainable solution that addresses some of their biggest problems.

  1. Present the solution. What strategies and initiatives are used to address the problem?
  1. Example: ORGANIZATION trains Kenyan youth to be sales professionals who go into their communities to offer products such as clean burning stoves and solar lamps. The money made from these products pays the sales agents and allows ORGANIZATION to train more youth and find more ways to improve those communities.

  1. The request. What would you like the listener(s) to do?
  1. Example: If you are interested in helping us revitalize these Kenyan slums, let us meet this afternoon to find ways your foundation can help!

Full Example:

More than half a million young people in Kenya are unemployed but are extremely talented and motivated; and, the communities in which they live are underserved and in need of more sustainable products. Without opportunities to work and shop, these Kenyan slums are not given a sustainable solution that addresses some of their biggest problems. ORGANIZATION trains Kenyan youth to be sales professionals who go into their communities to offer products such as clean burning stoves and solar lamps. The money made from these products pays the sales agents and allows ORGANIZATION to train more youth and find more ways to improve those communities. If you are interested in helping us revitalize these Kenyan slums, let us meet this afternoon to find ways your foundation can help!

Other Elevator Pitch Examples

Geoff Moore's Value Positioning Statement

Template:

For  ____________ (target customer)

who ____________  (statement of the need or opportunity)

our (product/service name) is  ____________  (product category)

that (statement of benefit) ____________ .

Example:

For any donor

who wants to provide opportunities for young adults to work their way out of poverty

our organization is a job-creating sales network that gets life-changing products into Kenyan neighborhoods.

David Cowan's Pitchcraft

Template:

  1. Highlight the enormity of the problem you are tackling.
  2. Tell the audience up front what your company sells.
  3. Distill the differentiation down to one, easy-to-comprehend sentence.
  4. Establish credibility by sharing the pedigree of the entrepreneurs, customers, or the investors.

Example:

One-on-One Meetings

Speech

Before:

During:

Written Communication

E-mail

In General


Practice

By practicing, you will be more familiar and comfortable with your pitch or speech. Some of the strategies below will help you identify continuity problems, nervous ticks and non-verbal opportunities.

Write It Out

Critique Yourself

Memorize It

Refine It


Grant Writing

Tailoring Your Grant

Making the connection with your audience is not limited to face-to-face interactions. You can find ways to tailor your grant writing in ways that connect with the selection committee and align the work of ORGANIZATION with its audience.

  1. Personalize your answers. If you have talked to anyone at the organization or on the selection committee, frame your writing as if you were talking to that specific person. Use clues from your interaction to strengthen your answers. For example, if they responded positively to the sustainability aspect of ORGANIZATION, be sure to emphasize that angle.
  2. Send thank you notes after the application is submitted. Handwritten is preferable as it adds a touch of personalization to your sentiment.
  3. Include your mission and/or values. Sometimes a question explicitly ask for your mission, but if not, be sure it is stated somewhere in your application. You do not want to miss a chance to illustrate what your organization stands for.

Common Questions and Answers

In order to strengthen and streamline the grant writing process, below are common questions asked and the answers that best highlight the work and accomplishments of ORGANIZATION.

  1. How did ORGANIZATION get started?
  1. ORGANIZATION grew out of a failed attempt to give youth entrepreneurial training and loans to start their own businesses. After two weeks of training, the pilot group expressed disinterest in taking a loan to start their own business when they had no experience or confidence in their abilities to do so and feared going into debt.
  2. Changing course, ORGANIZATION interviewed nearly 300 youth and discovered that everyone had sales experience, from selling mangos to drugs. We then worked with our pilot group to survey their community to find out what kind of products they needed. As a result of this cooperation, we launched the iSmart brand, under which our sales agents distribute life-changing products, starting with solar lamps. The product line has expanded to include affordable, high quality and environmentally conscious products. Currently, the bestselling product is the clean-burning stove which has many environmental social and health benefits.
  1. What inspires you about ORGANIZATION?
  1. ORGANIZATION is motivated by the power of opportunity.  Seeing the youth in Kenya make a living and work their way out of poverty while providing life-changing products to their communities is inspiring.
  1. How did you engage the community to come up with this solution?
  2. Why did you choose Nairobi, Kenya?
  1. In Kenya, 68% of the youth is jobless. Of those unemployed, ORGANIZATION estimates that 65,000 are eligible for sales work. Additionally, urban slums in Kenya represent a massive, rapidly-growing and underserved consumer market. Nairobi is a starting point; when looking at the same opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa, it ends up being about 2.5 million unemployed youth that are eligible.
  1. What are the biggest challenges you face today?
  1. Supply Gaps. ORGANIZATION depends on inventory from suppliers and has previously experienced product supply gaps. To address this, we have diversified our suppliers and now sell both Envirofit and Burn cook stoves. If supply gaps disrupt the project, we will need to raise additional funds to begin storing emergency inventory.
  2. Competition. As ORGANIZATION continues to prove the market potential in urban slums, we anticipate competition. We believe that our brand, representing quality and service, in addition to having first-mover advantage, will solidify consumer loyalty. We also aim to implement customer loyalty and other marketing programs to ensure loyalty to the brand.
  3. Security. Working in the slums with former gang members, criminals and sex workers can pose a security risk. However, our recruitment manager is a former street boy with a deep understanding of the complexities involved with working with these vulnerable populations. We also have specialized insurance in the case of an emergency.
  1. How do you measure success?
  1. Cost effectiveness is tracked using a social return on investment (SROI) model that considers the holistic outcomes of the ORGANIZATION model. Our SROI evaluates how much increased employment reduces crime, increases the likelihood that a child of a sales agent will eat three nutritious meals per day, reduces the likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
  2. Performance is also measured by looking at jobs, sales and growth. For jobs, we measure new opportunities created as a percentage of a monthly goal, the average net income of sales agents as a percentage of a monthly goal and net job opportunities created historically. With sales, we look at total product sales revenue and average transaction per customer as percentages of monthly goals, as well as net lives impacted by unit sales per month. Lastly, we measure growth by looking at the number of fixed stores in operation. These are the best indicators to give an accurate snapshot on the progress and social impact we are creating in slum communities.
  1. What makes ORGANIZATION different from other existing models?
  1. Current organizations in the field do not encompass the most disadvantaged youth in Kenyan society. For example, they only consider youth who have completed secondary school or already have business ideas or enterprises to help further develop them into a viable model. ORGANIZATION aims to attract and train youth from all backgrounds, genders and education levels.
  1. What is ORGANIZATION'S five-year plan?
  1. ORGANIZATION plans to be financially sustainable with scale in the next five years, expanding throughout Kenya reaching full sustainability with 32 stores in 2018. We believe that youth can serve as change agents in their communities bringing green products into slums worldwide.
  1. What is ORGANIZATION'S goal?
  1. By creating a financially-sustainable social enterprise that provides underprivileged youth with employment selling products like clean-burning cookstoves, which significantly reduce carbon emissions and consumption of fossil fuels, ORGANIZATION aims to 1) Reduce the harmful effects of climate change 2) Improve public health and 3) Expand economic opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
  1. What challenges are you addressing?
  1. ORGANIZATION works to address environmental, health, and unemployment challenges in Kenya. Eight million people reside in Kenya's slums and most use open-fire biomass stoves to cook meals and heat their homes. Emissions created from burning biomass have been shown to have severely damaging environmental and public health impacts.
  2. CO2 emissions contribute to global climate change which has dangerous consequences for the future of the earth and humanity. The rising temperatures and increases in severe weather such as heat waves and droughts can affect water supply and crop growth essential to Kenya's population. The collection of the wood can deplete forests and damage soil that could be used for agricultural production. The smoke from indoor cooking causes such toxic pollution that more children die from smoke inhalation than malaria in Nairobi. (GACC, 2011)
  3. Efficient cookstoves could cut CO2 emissions in half (Greishop et al 2011), but due to a market failure in distribution channels, slum residents lack access to these efficient cooking and heating technologies that could improve their health and save them money.
  4. Lastly, Kenyan youth aged 18-34 represent 61% of the unemployed in Kenya, most coming from households in the bottom 40% of the income distribution (UNDP, 2013). Unemployed and idle youth contribute to instability and social unrest, such as the 2008 post-election violence in which 75% of the perpetrators were youth. There is an entire generation of talent and creativity going to waste in Kenya. We see a different future for these youth and our environment.
  1. What have been the major milestones since the idea for ORGANIZATION began?
  1. A second shop opened.
  1. What is the “story” behind ORGANIZATION? Why was it started?
  2. Why is the mission of ORGANIZATION to create livelihoods for youth in slums?
  3. What is the vision of ORGANIZATION?
  1. Our vision is a world in which youth have the opportunity to work their way out of poverty.
  1. How many communities do you work in? What is your plan for scale?
  1. We will begin by adding one store every quarter through 2015 and will add two to four stores every quarter thereafter. With greater sales volumes, we will receive optimal bulk pricing from our suppliers, allowing us to significantly increase our profit margins in 2016. By 2018, we hope to have 32 stores, more than 3,000 jobs created and $2.7 earned revenue accumulated.
  1. Can you describe these communities?
  2. Who is on the management team and what is their background?
  1. Tania Laden, Co-Founder and Executive Director. Tania graduated from Stanford with a degree in Science, Technology and Society with a focus on Management Science & Engineering. She joined ORGANIZATION at the end of 2010, bringing her global business acumen and experience to the organization. Prior to ORGANIZATION, Tania worked as a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley, where she focused on assisting non-profits and social ventures manage their assets and investments. As a Business & Technology Analyst at EZLearn, an educational technology start-up in Brazil, Tania assisted with managing the technology team and customer outreach activities for over 10,000 customers. After serving as an adviser and volunteer for two years with KITO International, Tania moved to Kenya to build and manage iSmart, the first sales agent network created by ORGANIZATION.
  2. Brian Odhiambo, Director of Operations. After graduating from Yale, Brian joined the management team for Jumia, an award-winning e-commerce platform across Africa. He then co-founded ZamSolar, where he grew the company’s network to 10 branches and increased revenues from $3,000 to $40,000 per month. He recruited and managed a staff of 20 full-time and 400 part-time personnel.
  3. Shannon Murphy, Director of Development. Shannon began her international career with the Peace Corps, after which she went to graduate school at Boston College to pursue a career in non-profit management. She has worked in fundraising for several organizations in Boston as well as for the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network in Bangkok.
  4. Millicent Chepkemoi, Program Manager. Millicent has degrees in Education, HR Management and Project Management. She has recruited and trained over 2,500 women as a Project Officer working in Nairobi slums. Millicent developed various training programs working with Total Quality Training Consultants and Kenya Bus Service. One of the programs she developed in conjunction with Kenya Institute of Education is in the process of being adopted by the Ministry of Transport.
  1. How does the management team report to one another? What is the organization hierarchy?
  2. What makes the management team strong?
  3. Who is on the Board of Directors? What is their background?
  4. How often does the Board of Directors meet?
  5. What is the required commitment of the Board of Directors?
  6. What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Why is this problem important to solve?
  1. In the slums, young men and women struggle to find a source of income. Some youth sell their bodies, rob their neighbors, or are recruited by Al-Shabbab to launch grenades into neighborhood markets. The problem is worsening quickly as the slum population is expected to double by 2030. We are losing an entire generation of productive young talent.
  2. This is important because by addressing this problem ORGANIZATION is changing the socio economic systems that keep underprivileged and uneducated youth in a cycle of poverty. This promotes the economic growth of Kenya, reduces extreme poverty and offers gender equality by offering equal employment opportunity.
  3. Additionally, bringing access to these new and innovative products also disrupts the system of sub-standard quality and technology that has defined the purchasing options and lifestyle that BoP consumers have become complacent with. Through their increasing purchasing power, ORGANIZATION hopes to empower these consumers to make healthy and informed choices about how to spend their hard earned money.
  1. How many people are impacted by this problem?
  1. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 2.5 million youth who are eligible for sales jobs are currently unemployed.
  1. What would the world look like if we solved this problem?
  1. It would be a world where ambitious, talented and creative youth have the chance to earn an honest living, achieve their potential, and contribute to the economic development of their communities.
  1. What is your solution? What is your business model? How is this model scalable?
  2. How did you design this model?
  3. What are the key activities associated with this business model?
  4. How do you deliver these key activities?
  5. What are the risks and challenges associated with this model, both internal and external?
  6. What are the barriers to entry as you grow into new markets?
  7. What is more important to you? Impact or sustainability?
  8. When will the organization become sustainable?
  1. With our growth plan, comprised of three phases, we hope to have ORGANIZATION completely financially sustainable by 2018.
  1. What are your operating assumptions?