Use Your Why - Not Your What

The truth is that many nonprofits aren’t comfortable marketing themselves or don’t know where to start. Many marketing tactics feel like … marketing tactics. They don’t feel genuine. If you’re struggling with jumpstarting (or restarting) your marketing or fundraising efforts, start your most compelling message: your WHY.

Your WHY is part of a concept called the Golden Circle developed by Simon Sinek to illustrate how leaders and organizations can stand out from others by focusing on their core beliefs. Most organizations love talking about their services and products (their WHAT) or HOW they do what they do. But it’s the WHY that creates a deeper connection with customers.

The Golden Circle

What Is My WHY?

Our personal WHY is at the core of everything we do. In short, it’s why we do what we do. Why we value certain things. Why we dedicate time to specific activities. Why we get up in the morning.

So, what is your organization’s WHY? What is its real purpose? Your mission outlines your goals, but WHY did you choose them? Your organization seeks to help others, WHY those people? Your organization provides a set of services, WHY are you doing what you’re doing?

Focusing on your WHY allows you to talk about your mission and impact in an inspiring way that makes us want to connect with you and support you.


Create A WHY Statement

You should be able to distill the essence of your nonprofit’s mission into this simple WHY statement. It will guide your path to clearer and more concise video marketing.
The contribution you make to the lives of others through your WHY goes in the first blank. The impact of your contribution goes in the second blank.

TO ____ SO THAT ____.


Sample Marketing Statements

A typical marketing statement focuses on the WHAT and HOW: “We provide meal services for children. We need volunteers and donors to do this. For information, visit our website”

A marketing statement that includes the WHY: “No American should go to bed hungry. We believe it’s our responsibility to feed one of our country’s most vulnerable populations—children so they can develop into their fullest potential. To help us protect our children, visit our website at”


What To Do With Your WHY

Think of your WHY Statement as your topic sentence. All of your content and messaging should refer back to it and support it. It can go in any of the conventional marketing tactics: digital ads, social media posts, emails and direct mail pieces. But you can really make an impact by using video. No medium conveys emotion better than video.


Get To It!

Now get those cameras rolling and start talking about your WHY!




Filament Protip

All of our service area leaders have dozens of years of experience. These are protips they’ve picked up along the way that you can use right now to solve common issues.