Inspiring Action: It’s Not What You Do, It’s Why You Do It

How do you inspire action?

This is the golden question for every charity, regardless of size, funding, and resources. Every charity wants to know and understand the answer to this question.

The question comes in many forms. How do you get donors to donate once, or twice, or continually? How do you get people to volunteer with your organization? How do you get supporters to help your cause?

How do you inspire action?

The reason I bring up this billion-dollar question is because I recently came across a fantastic TED Talk that addresses this very problem. In this talk, Simon Sinek explores how we communicate and more importantly, uncovers how successful leaders inspire action.  It all comes down to messaging, explaining the why, rather than the what  or how.

If the video doesn’t work, you can check it out here.

People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

You may have noticed that Simon repeats this mantra throughout the video. Inspiring people to take action essentially comes down to translating your passion and beliefs to others. Showing the why versus the what is the key.

Room to Read is a great example of an organization that inspires action by showing their beliefs (the why): World Change Starts with Educated Children.

This simple and concise tag line explains exactly why I should support their work. Three things immediately stand out with this tagline: World Change, Educated, and Children. These are all concepts I strongly belive in and as a result, I am drawn into learning more. With only six words, they have inspired me to care about their work.

Most importantly, this tagline is at the heart of all their communications; they have made sure this is the first thing you see when you come across any of their work. It inspires people because it explains the why behind everything they do.

Next time you are creating messaging for your organization, make sure you explain the why first. Take some time to reflect on why you started doing the great work you do, and then use that passion and understanding to inspire others to support you. And always remember:

People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.