How Introverts Can Navigate Events

How Introverts Can Navigate Events

I have a love-hate relationship with conferences and networking events. While I love to meet new people and to learn new things, large or busy events can get overwhelming. I’m an introvert. I like my alone time. After a lot of activity,  conversations, and noise, I need to go somewhere quiet and recharge. 

Last week’s Daily Writer Retreat got me thinking about the advantage of smaller events (at least for me). This was a two-day event, with dinner together at a local restaurant the night before. It was a small event, really much like a mastermind, with only a dozen people. That’s one of the things that made this an easy ‘yes’ for me. 

Here are some things that made this event a success  for me:

  • Community & collaboration are powerful.  The hotseat approach (like a mastermind) gave everyone a chance to benefit from the experience and insight of others. The structured approach and focus gave everyone a chance to share their ideas.
  • Simplicity sparks creativity.  In contrast to over-programmed conferences, 
    the slow, simple approach meant we could have deeper conversations and process them in real time, giving new ideas the room they need to develop.
  • Introverts are amazing. In the right environment, introverts are generally superstar listeners. This meant advice from fellow attendees was more likely to be useful and relevant. I think we all left with realistic next steps.

The format of this retreat allowed us, as introverts, to contribute (and receive) consistently through the two days we had together.  Conference planners, if you’re not allowing time and space for introverts to shine, you’re missing out!

Introverts, understanding how you react to different environments, and structuring your time at events so that you get the breaks you need can make the difference between exhausting and exhilarating!

For more information about the Daily Writer Club – click here (affiliate link)

Using Stories to Connect: Mary Valloni interviews Kay Helm

Using Stories to Connect: Mary Valloni interviews Kay Helm

The tables are turned as fundraising expert Mary Valloni interviews Kay about using stories to connect with donors.

We talked about:
Using stories to connect
Where we go wrong with storytelling
Stories for people in admin roles
Telling your own origin story
The key story we forget

And don’t miss the story I’ve been telling for our ministry for SIX years…

Missionary fundraising training with Mary Valloni

Level up your storytelling skills with Kay

Help Donors Catch Your Stories

Help Donors Catch Your Stories

Your donors are busy. They’re tired. They make decisions all day in a world where everyone is clamoring for attention. Here’s a simple way to help them “catch” your stories.

Have you ever opened an email from a nonprofit and the thing just kept going on, and on? Or it was formatted to look like their print newsletter, and turned into a maze of misshapen text on your phone? Did you fight through and read it? If you did (most won’t), could you recall anything it said?

The idea of sending a regular newsletter is not a bad one. Printed. Sent through the postal service. With a return envelope for donations. The problem comes when we try to send that same newsletter by email. First, the formatting is going to be a bear.

The real problem is when we try to put a bunch of stories into one email, readers can’t “catch” them.

They open the email (maybe), see how long (or crowded) it is, and move along to the next thing in their inbox.

Even if they love you.

Try this instead:

Write your beautiful print newsletter. Include all the key stories a newsletter needs. Then, spread those stories out over several emails.

One story. One email.

If your newsletter has a constituent story, a donor story, and a volunteer story, that gives you three emails to send with content from your newsletter.

Think of storytelling like a game of catch, and each story is a ball. I toss you a story; you catch it and read. If I toss you several balls at once, how many will you catch? Even if you’re super-motivated and nimble, it’s likely you’ll miss most of those balls.

However, when I toss you just one ball at a time, you can easily catch it and respond.

Your donors are busy. They’re tired. They make decisions all day in a world where everyone is clamoring for attention. Balls coming at them. all. day. long. You can be the bright spot in their day by tossing them just one ball at a time.

When you try to cram several stories into one email message, other stories dilute your primary story and your call to action.

Treat your emails like a game of catch. Send one story at a time.

Try it and let me know how this works for you!

Adjust Your Messaging to Fit Your Donor’s Journey

Adjust Your Messaging to Fit Your Donor’s Journey

Our stories have the power to move supporters along on a journey: introducing them to a problem, dispelling myths, offering hope, introducing them to our organization, showing them how we solve the problem, building trust, and inviting them to take action. 

At any point in time, you’ll have people at different stages along these five levels of awareness (from copywriter Eugene Schwartz):

  1. Unaware – They don’t even know there is a problem.
  2. Problem Aware – They know about the problem, but not about solutions.
  3. Solution Aware – They know about solutions, but not so much about your organization, the work you do, or what makes you special.
  4. Brand Aware – They know about you! But they aren’t convinced you are the right fit for them.
  5. Most Aware – They get it! They know about the problem, what you do to solve the problem, they know, like, and trust you, and they’re ready to join you (just waiting for you to ask). 

It’s important to think about the donor’s journey, and where they are in it, when crafting our stories. We must also consider our organization’s goals (increase monthly donations, bust a myth around the problem we solve, attract volunteers, etc.) and position ourselves and the story accordingly. 

Address potential donors according to the stage of awareness they’re in. Do this, and donors will be more informed, engaged, and ready to respond when it’s time to ask for their support.

Joyful Copy: Interview with Joy Capps

Joyful Copy: Interview with Joy Capps

Joy Capps is the author of Joyful Copy—How to Show Up in the Marketplace Ethically and Authentically. We chatted about the book and how as Christians we can look to God for the ultimate in best practices.

Joy Capps helps entrepreneurs and business owners create ethical copy & use values-based business coaching to connect with customers authentically. We chatted about her new book, Joyful Copy–How to Show Up in the Marketplace Ethically and Authentically.

There are a lot of copywriting formulas and blueprints, and many ways to reach your audience. But not all ways line up with what we know to be ethical and true. Joy created her Joyful Copy framework to help us write marketing copy that isn’t slimy. Based on Galatians 5:22-23 and Philippians 4:8, her framework filters best practices of copywriting through the teachings of the Bible.

We talked about:

  • The Joyful Copy Framework
  • Is there even such a thing as ethical copywriting?
  • How blindly following the gurus can lead us down a slippery slope
  • Asking God lead our work vs asking Him to bless our work
  • What she hopes happens as a result of this book
  • A life lesson from her father
  • Book release


Connect with Joy at
Instagram – @joycappswrites

Get the book – Joyful Copy–How to Show Up in the Marketplace Ethically and Authentically on Amazon, or at

What Airbnb can teach nonprofits about storytelling

What Airbnb can teach nonprofits about storytelling

Every story gives us a chance to choose. Do we set up a “them and us” narrative, or will we do the work to offer another perspective?

Have you seen the whimsical ad Airbnb runs to encourage people to become hosts?

I can see why people might be hesitant to allow strangers into their space. We are conditioned to look at people who are not like us as either scary or exotic. Since childhood, most of us have been warned of “stranger danger”.

The ad features a family of shaggy “monsters” enjoying their vacation. It starts where many of us are when it comes to inviting strangers to stay in our homes–it’s a little scary. But then we see a delightful series of scenes: enjoying a beautiful view with a cuppa tea, a family hike, collecting shells, taking selfies, cooking, playing games…

These are simple things we enjoy with our own families.

The shaggy monsters clean up after themselves, straighten a picture on the wall, and leave a thank you note. As they close the door, we finally see them as they really are–a human family, just like us.

Kevin Morby’s song, Beautiful Strangers, provides a relaxed musical backdrop. Not a word is spoken. It’s a beautifully orchestrated story with an important message:

Strangers aren’t that strange. We have more in common than not.

The stories we tell can build bridges

Unfortunately, in our attempts to elicit emotion (or donations), we often emphasize our differences rather than our shared humanity. When we do this, we miss opportunities to present a realistic and nuanced view of the problems we solve. At worst, we reinforce stereotypes and even exploit the people we are called to serve.

Every story gives us a chance to choose. Do we set up a “them and us” narrative, or will we do the work to offer another perspective?