Being involved in a non-profit is a great way to give back to the community – whether you are the founder, an employee, a volunteer, or a board member – each role is just as important as the next. While the responsibilies may vary, one thing that every role has in common is raising awareness within the community about the non-profit. Unlike for-profit businesses, most non-profits need to market their vision, mission and services to not only the people they serve, but to those who support them – their donors.
It’s important that your donors see “inside” your organization. Your story that is shared should not only include stories of the people you serve, but also stories about your staff, your leadership and your board.
Here are some great channels for non-profits to use:
- Use social media – Social media is one of the single most powerful tools available to any company including the nonprofit community. Approximately 2.8 billion people use social media every day and 83% of all Americans have at least one social media account. Get active on social media. You can post about what’s going on in your organization, as well as share useful and interesting content with your subscribers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top go-to platforms.
- Use your website – If you don’t have a website – get one. Your website is the face of your non-profit. It’s were people will go to get more information and ultimately decide is they want to volunteer, donate money, and share your story. . You can post information about upcoming events, news, a blog, photos, and the team who makes it all work. It all matters to the people in your community.
- Get involved – If you want the community to know about you, care about you, and ultimately be a part of your non-profit then you need to get involved. Join a Chamber of Commerce, rent a booth at a community event, and meet the people who are in your community. It’s a great way to build up your network and be seen.
- Give them something to remember you by – Promotional items should not be overlooked in the world of nonprofit business. They offer a fantastic Return on Investment . In fact, nearly 89% of consumers can recall the branding on a promotional product that they received within 24 months, and over 53% of consumers use a branded product once or more per week. Some great items would be t-shirts, pens, keychains, tiny LED flashlights. They don’t have to be fancy, but they should be useful and branded to your company.
- Stay connected – Just because someone engaged with you once doesn’t mean they will continue to. Keep your current connections engaged by sending them a weekly or monthly email, a newsletter, updates about exciting news. Anything that will make them feel like they are still part of your network and you care that they are part of your network. Don’t forget the power of your annual report – show your donors where their money is being spent.
- Get the press involved – If you have news to share consider creating a press release and sending it out to local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, and Chambers of Commerce. They love feel good stories!
- Pictures say a thousand words – It’s true – pictures get noticed. Make sure you take photos of your staff, events, people volunteering etc. Photos get great engagement on social media, you can use them on your website, and in your newsletters and emails.
- Make it easy for people to find you – This goes along with the website and giving them information easily, but make sure your phone number, address, how to donate etc. are all easy to find. If people need to search information out, they will engage elsewhere.
- Ask – This seems simple, but it’s often overlooked. Sometimes all it takes is asking people to share your story with others. Hosting an event, ask your friends and family to share it on social media or with their coworkers. If you don’t ask, they won’t know you need help.
Engaging with your community beyond your everyday supporters is not easy, but with a concerted effort, and a little creativity, it can bring your organization great benefit.
Senior Vice President, Commercial Lender