You Were Here.

So the latest buzz for this year’s holiday season is the controversy surrounding the anxiously anticipated end of the Mayan calendar.  If you haven’t been paying attention, word is, come December 21, 2012, some great cosmic disaster is coming and it’s likely going to wipe out planet Earth.

We don’t know if we’re buying into the whole end-of-the-world thing, lest we forget the prophetic warnings that plagued us last year which turned out to be unfounded.  But it got us to thinking— if the world as we know it was really to end in less than two weeks, what would you want the new world to come (if there is one) to remember about your organization? What would survivors in the aftermath who want to learn about your cause think about your story?

Take singer Beyonce’s most recent mantra, for example.  “I Was Here” was the theme song for her endorsement of the United Nation’s World Humanitarian Day earlier this year.  In the powerful ballad, she belts out her desire to leave her mark on the world with compelling lyrics like “The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I need, that I made a difference, and this world will see, I was here.”  Does your organization’s story echo such an ambition?

These three quick tips will help you ensure that your organization is building a lasting legacy:

  • Document Everything – Your legacy is only as good as the record you keep of it. The moment when your organization received that coveted award of excellence–capture it on video, record it on audio, or preserve it in photographs. Make sure you document the milestones and achievements of your organization so that they can be acknowledged for years and years down the road.
  • Review Your Past Year – As the year comes to a close, this is the perfect time to look back at the progress of your organization in the past 12 months.  An assessment of the highs and lows will help you conceptualize how to move forward in the new year and continuously build upon that legacy.
  • Involve Your Supporters – Truly enduring traditions are built in the hearts and minds of the people who care about your cause.  Engage your supporters and value their opinions.  The memories they cultivate about your organization will certainly withstand the test of time.  Not to mention, allowing factions to share their personal insight in framing your legacy could be a great end-of-year fundraising tool that will only solidify continued support.

The legacy that you’re building for times to come can be just as critical to your story as the here and now.  A quality organization bestows remnants that transcend and cement its contributions to the community that it served.  So, as you think about the story your organization is telling today, also consider what legacy your organization is leaving for tomorrow.  Will anyone remember that you were here?

-Jessica Fenney, communications & outreach associate, pride collaborative


For more tips, tools, and advice on how to tell better stories join our free resource initiative, StoriesLead

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