Crafting and practicing a compelling introduction to yourself and your organization is an important step in connecting with your community and the individuals you will serve as a VISTA.
In the first part of this two-part activity, you will create a short, passionate “minute intro” which you can use to talk about what you do as a VISTA and persuade others that your work and your organization really matter. This intro is one you’ll use many times during your service, in face-to-face meetings, phone calls, when networking on LinkedIn or other social media, etc.
In the second part of the activity, you’ll think about how different audiences might respond to this sort of introduction, and what questions they might have, so you can prepare for the conversations you’ll be having as you introduce yourself within your organization and your community.
Part-one: Creating your minute intro
- Read over the format suggestions below.
- Review the two templates and example introductions.
- Write your minute intro.
- Practice saying it out loud several times. Consider saying it to your supervisor or others at your site to get their feedback.
A strong minute intro creates interest in learning more about your organization and your role in fighting poverty. Remember to:
- Introduce yourself by name
- Identify yourself as an AmeriCorps VISTA
- Briefly explain why your organization exists
- Focus on describing your program or organization’s impacts
- Speak with conviction and passion
- Use simple, jargon-free language
- Align with your organization’s branding and messaging
- Avoid overwhelming the listener with too many details
- Leave your listener wanting more
Here are two different templates you can use, but feel free to create your own. It’s important you feel like your minute intro is really yours.
- I’m ________ (your name). I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA _____-ing (doing) ________ (your service focus) with/for _______________ (organization). We believe that _______________ (deeply held value). Every day, we _________ (verb) _________ (object) for _________________________ (constituents/beneficiaries), because __________________________ (problem statement).
- Hi, I’m ________ (your name). I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with __________________(your organization). Our organization ________________ (short statement about the mission/antipoverty focus). My role is to ___________(your VAD/service focus) and I’m really passionate about this because ________________________________________.
And here are a couple of examples:
- I’m Sandra, and I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA, creating partnerships for the Prescott Area Women’s Shelter. We believe that housing is a human right. That’s why we ensure that our constituents have a roof over their head, because nobody should have to call the streets their home.
- Hi, I’m Eric. I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA developing a fundraising plan for the Harmony Clinic. Harmony Clinic believes everyone should have access to quality healthcare whether or not they can pay. Every day, we meet the needs of patients at no cost---because healthy people build healthy communities.
Your introduction will provide basic information about your work, but everyone you introduce yourself to will have deeper questions, based in part on how they might be interacting with you and with the organization. For example, what would a potential funder want to know? What about a prospective partner organization in your community? The “Think Like” tips below can help you understand what different audiences will want to know about VISTA projects.
- Think like a funder: What might compel you to support this organization? What concerns might you have that need to be addressed? How will you decide if it’s a worthwhile investment to fund this particular project?
- Think like a partner organization: What do you need in a partnership, and how might this project provide that? How might a partner contribute to this project? What concerns might you have about partnering that need to be addressed? How will you decide if partnering around this particular project will help meet your own organization’s own goals?
- Think like a volunteer: What might excite you about devoting your time to this organization? What concerns might you have that need to be addressed? How will you decide if it’s worth your time to volunteer with this particular project?
Recommended: Extend your learning
Posting the video (or the written content of what you said in the video) on LinkedIn or other social media provides a way for other people to learn about you and the work you’re doing in your organization and community this year.