Life and Mission

Kay Helm

A podcast about everyday life in pursuit of a greater purpose – Find your voice. Tell your story. Change the world.

What Airbnb can teach nonprofits about storytelling
4d ago
What Airbnb can teach nonprofits about storytelling
Every story gives us a chance to choose. Do we set up a “them and us” narrative, or will we do the work to offer another perspective?Airbnb runs an ad featuring a family of shaggy “monsters” enjoying their vacation. the goal of the ad is to invite people to become hosts on the platform. It starts where many of us are when it comes to inviting strangers to stay in our homes–it’s a little scary. But then we see a delightful series of scenes: enjoying beautiful views with a cuppa tea, a family hike, collecting shells, talking selfies, watching a movie, playing games…These are simple things we enjoy with our own families.The shaggy monsters clean up after themselves, straighten a picture on the wall, and leave a thank you note. As they close the door, we finally see them as they really are–a human family, just like us.Click here to watch the ad.Kevin Morby’s song, Beautiful Strangers, provides a relaxed musical backdrop. Not a word is spoken. It’s a beautifully orchestrated story with an important message:Strangers aren’t that strange. We have more in common than not.The stories we tell carry this kind of power to connect, too.Unfortunately, in our attempts to elicit emotion (or donations), we often emphasize our differences rather than our shared humanity. When we do this, we miss opportunities to present a realistic and nuanced view of the problems we solve. At worst, we reinforce stereotypes and even exploit the people we are called to serve.Every story gives us a chance to choose. Do we set up a “them and us” narrative, or will we do the work to offer another perspective?Check out the free Mission Writers video workshopThree Essential Stories Every Missionary, Ministry, and Nonprofit Needs to Tellgo.kayhelm.comJoin Mission WritersSupport the show
Fundraising in Uncertain Times
Jul 26 2022
Fundraising in Uncertain Times
I got a message today from a supporter who needs to stop her monthly donations. I'm thinking of my friends in ministry who raise support–missionary support or raising funds for the ministry as a whole–and you’re on the field, you’re doing the work, and you get a message like this.The temptation is to shrink back. The temptation is to say, "Well, people are hurting (they are) and so I feel bad asking for money to support the ministry." But I want to encourage you that this is not the time to pull back. The money belongs to God. It’s not yours. It’s not your donor’s money. It’s God’s. The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.Proverbs 21:1Things are being moved around, yes. Some donors will leave you. But some will also come to you. Coming or going, we’re still called to relationship. We’re in this together. The resources belong to God, and He will move them around from time to time. You still have to do your part. You still have to be ready to receive.You have to make it easy for people to give.You need to ask.Not only ask–more than ever, you need to tell stories. Fundraising is part of discipling and leading and ministering to the people God has given you for this season. You pray together, weep together, celebrate together.If you feel bad about asking for money, ask yourself a few questions:Do I only talk to my people when I need something? Am I sharing the ministry with them without asking for money? (stories)Do they ever get to see the smiles I get to see? Do they ever experience the joy and fulfillment I feel on a day when I absolutely know that God is with me, and that God loves without reserve the people He’s called me to serve? If you haven’t been telling stories, sharing the work, sharing the joy, then start now.  We grow closer by sharing stories. We are fundraisers, but it’s not the only thing we are. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We bear one another's burdens. We share one another’s joys. We celebrate all that God is doing and look to Him with eager expectation.We find solid ground to stand on when we remind each other of God’s faithfulness. Don’t just say He’s faithful, share the story of how you know he’s faithful. This is the word of your testimony. We are always called to glorify the name of the Lord.  Stories help us to see how He is moving and working in the world today.We need that. There is a time to ask - and yes, you can ask in tough economic times. But at any time, you must tell stories. And you must tell stories before earning the right to ask. Share the stories. Share them with boldness and confidence in the Lord, as you trust Him to turn hearts and resources where He wishes. Check out the free Mission Writers video workshopThree Essential Stories Every Missionary, Ministry, and Nonprofit Needs to Tellgo.kayhelm.comJoin Mission WritersSupport the show
Why you need stories to raise funds
Jun 20 2022
Why you need stories to raise funds
You need to tell stories to raise more funds for your mission, ministry or nonprofit. But why is that? What exactly is it that stories do?Every known culture tells stories. This is the way we make sense of the world and our place in it. All through the donor journey, especially with people who are not yet aware of you and your mission. Stories help draw them in, and help them get to know, like, and trust you. Why Tell Stories?Stories help us connect – When you listen to a story, your brainwaves  actually start to synchronize with those of the storyteller. Research shows compelling stories cause our brains to release oxytocin, increase empathy, and have the power to affect our behaviors.Stories help us remember who we are and what we’re about. Donors give to their values. Telling stories that reflect those values help donors make good decisions about whether you’re a good match for them. Stories reveal truths – your storytelling can help people see the world in a new way. Shift perspectives, overcome prejudices.Stories offer dignity and context for beneficiaries, and give them a voice.Stories put our critical minds aside for a moment, and we willingly enter into the narrative. We try to find ourselves in the story. Stories give us context to make sense of all those things.You don’t just “need a story” to fill a space in your newsletter. You need a story to show donors what they can accomplish by giving to your mission. Where do they fit in this story? Not just through giving, but in the big picture of a world where this thing is a problem. They can reflect their values, glorify God, ease suffering, and experience deep personal satisfaction by stepping into this story and playing an active role.In our ministries, stories are an invitation into a world most people haven’t experienced. If I live in America and I’m immersed in church culture, and all my friends are Christians, I don’t give much thought to what it’s like to not know who Jesus is. To not have ever seen a bible. So, when you say you need funds to go and preach the gospel, or to live in another culture for several years so they can have a bible in their language, you can’t just start there. You have to bring donors into that world and give context to what you do and why you do it. You do that with stories.I’m convinced one of the most powerful helps for us to tell better stories is to think about why we tell stories in the first place! Check out the free Mission Writers video workshopThree Essential Stories Every Missionary, Ministry, and Nonprofit Needs to Tellgo.kayhelm.comJoin Mission WritersSupport the show
Looking up at the end of 2020
Dec 28 2020
Looking up at the end of 2020
Some thoughts on the hope of Christmas, and I share shorts from my friends in the Christian Podcasters Association.But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."   Luke 2:10 Several friends eager to run into the New Year have asked me, “Do you have your word for 2021?” Actually, I don't have a single word. I have a phrase from the song O Holy Night. The soaring, triumphant anthem for a world so drained and exhausted that it knows our only hope is to look up.   I imagine us all on our knees, weak and heavy, turning just enough to catch a furtive glance of someone moving. Emmanuel, our Savior. God with us. But He's not what we expected!   What is this?   He's just a baby!   We need a king!   We run after the tangible but fleeting hope of humans and human systems that can only offer the illusion of security. The promise of rest never realized. Until…   One night in a small town, a lonely couple with nowhere to go settles among the animals and lays their newborn in a manger. As the baby cries his first breaths, the sky grows bright over the hill country. Startled shepherds rise to investigate, then fall back to the ground in awe and wonder. The light and the sound of the angels' song is nearly too much to bear. With their heads still pressed to the ground, they turn just enough to glimpse the heavenly choir. Gasping for breath, overwhelmed. Praises tumble from their lips as a thrill of hope invigorates their souls.    Through the years, the angels' praise continues. But our jaded, impatient world, discontent and numb, marches on from season to season. Have we lost enough strength to fall to our knees? It's the weary world that rejoices. The weary world suspects we were meant for more.   The rest of Bethlehem went about its business that night. But the baby's exhausted parents and the shepherds; they were the ones who noticed. It was the weary ones on their knees that gained that thrill of hope.    The truth of Christmas is that we cannot save ourselves.    The promise of Christmas is that God loved us so completely that He sent His son to save us.   "The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."  - O Holy Night   He wrapped us in a starry sky, calling us to look up. He gave His only son to us. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. The government shall be upon His shoulders, and of His kingdom, there shall be no end.    This year has been challenging, but not without hope. Weary ones, may this week of in-between be filled with the wonder of Christ's birth and the thrill of hope that only He can bring.   ~Kay Also this week, I'm sharing short takes from my friends in the Christian Podcasters Association:Letters from Home Podcast, by Meg Glesener Repurposed Podcast, by Michelle Rayburn Podcast, by Chris Staron with Moni Podcast, by Monika Hardy the show (