Q: We teach trauma informed yoga to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Denver VA Hospital, where we have patient privacy issues and therefore no photos, no video, and no first-person recorded testimonials…just written and verbal testimonials. Our fundraising is directed at fulfilling an operating budget of not more than $50,000 per year in the next three years to convert our teachers from volunteer status to paid sub-contractors, to train our teachers in the fine points of trauma informed yoga, and to underwrite one or more scholarships for vets who are interested in pursuing yoga teacher training certification so that they may join us in teaching yoga to vets with PTSD. How do you suggest we create a sizzling event with so little audio-visual collateral and no ability to go on a physical "tour"?
Margot in Colorado
A: Benevon has trained and coached many groups with confidentiality issues to implement our model over the years, such as domestic violence shelters and child abuse programs. It is absolutely possible to conduct a great Point of Entry Event while still maintaining the strict confidentiality of your clients or program participants. You will need to craft one story for each of your three tour stops. Ideally, each story would reflect a key aspect of your work.
It would be great to have one story told by a yoga instructor who works with you. They can first speak about what got them into this field initially and why they care about working with this population. Perhaps they have their own personal experience with trauma informed yoga? Then they can go on to share a specific example of a student who demonstrates the impact of your program. You can change the name and identifying details and make this clear to the audience by having them start with, "I want to tell you a story about a 30-year-old man I worked with. Let's call him Jake." Share an age and a description and highlight what their life was like before the program, how the program had an impact on them, and what their life was like after getting involved with your work.
The next story could be told by a student who is interested in taking the yoga teacher certification. They can talk about the impact of your work on their life and why they want to teach others.
The final tour stop could feature a story told by a family member of someone you served, either in person or through a powerful letter.
The last story in a Point of Entry should be a live testimonial. If you do have any program participants who are willing to share their story live at the Point of Entry, that would be a fantastic way to close your Point of Entry. If not, perhaps a story told in person by a family member.