Q: How do you come up with enough different speakers that inspire? Sometimes that's the hardest part!
Margo in North Carolina
A: In addition to being sizzling, it is critical that your Point of Entry is sustainable for your organization to do twice per month! Having the right mix of stories and speakers, as well as back-up options, is essential.
In addition to the Ambassador who has filled and is hosting the Point of Entry, the Visionary Leader (executive director or CEO) and the tour guide (the development director or other staff), the Point of Entry will require between two to four additional stories and/or speakers.
Each tour stop at the Point of Entry includes a story about one life that has been changed by your organization. This story must be told from the first-person perspective through one of three mediums:
- A compelling letter or email that is written in the person’s voice. This should be read by someone that has a connection to that individual.
- A great audio recording of the person telling their story. Audio can be a powerful way for people to hear the story in that person’s own voice, while imagining what they might have looked like during that experience they are speaking about. In both the audio recording and the letter, be sure you have a photograph of that person (or to represent that person if you have confidentiality concerns) and a prop that represents an element of their story. The story needs to follow our three-part template for what we call the Essential Story (which is written about in our books).
To gather great stories, go to program staff, your volunteer coordinator, or anyone else who is on the “front lines” of your mission. Perhaps there have been clients or families who have said they’d love to give back or help in any way they can. Or grateful volunteers who share their passion for your work with everyone they know.
Once you have identified possible stories, work with them on crafting a great, concise account of their experience. Sometimes it’s best to start with an interview to tease out the key elements before putting pen to paper.
Before you begin, give everyone time to practice their delivery and eventually have them move away from notes or cue cards. That will bring a level of authenticity and emotion to your Point of Entry that is key to success with the Benevon Model.