How many times have you felt stuck in place? That no matter what you try, your nonprofit is still your community’s best-kept secret? It happens to everyone at one point or another.
How do you get your nonprofit ahead? You start by infusing the community with your nonprofit’s unique message. And you do that by capitalizing on what you’ve learned about influencing community giving.
To review, in How to Raise More Money on a Limited Budget, we addressed the benefits of targeting specific donor groups. In How to Help Donors Meet Their Goals and Raise More Money, we dove into the different motivations of different donor types and how to approach them. In How to Inexpensively Broadcast Your Nonprofit’s Message, we saw how to brand your nonprofit to reach the most people possible. In How to Attract the Money Your Nonprofit Deserves, we covered how to stand out in the crowded nonprofit field. Now we move onto how to spread your message so that it reaches all corners of the community,
Make Your Message a Mainstay of Your Culture
Making your unique message a mainstay in the community means training all your core constituencies to repeat the same message. Which means your unique messaging needs to be incorporated into your organizational culture. Which means it is in your board recruitment materials, board agenda, promotional materials, speeches, press releases, fundraising campaigns, events, staff training manuals, volunteer training materials, and any other tool you use to communicate about your nonprofit, internally and externally. Your goal is to provide your bullseye groups with the messages they need to spread the word out to the next circle. And then the circle after that. It’s a ripple effect. Community awareness of your nonprofit increases as each circle expands. And, since you are coming from their perspectives using their words based on their values, potential community supporters will understand what you’re trying to say. Which, in turn, results in a greater likelihood they will respond.
You want to make sure you drill the message down to the staff and volunteers inside the organization, too. The biggest and least expensive communication channel for getting your message out to the community is your paid and unpaid staff. Employees spend most of their waking hours at work. Volunteers know your agency from personal experience. They talk to their families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Who speak to their spouses, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
So, make sure your messaging is consistent in your strategic plan, marketing plan, communications plan, and case for support. Especially since these documents lay the basis for your external communications. Also, make sure the language you use to describe your nonprofits is included in your staff and volunteer training manuals.
Spread Your Message Extensively
The key to getting your message noticed by the community is that it is easy to understand and heard often. Put your agency’s message everywhere, in every communication vehicle you use. For example, the logo on your letterhead; the look, feel, and content on your website; in your social media posts; in your newsletter articles; in your press releases; during radio and TV interviews; in your make public speeches; in your fundraising appeals, including grants, annual appeals, and major gift and capital campaign materials; and in your promotional materials, to name a few.
Again and again, spread the same core message in every piece of information your nonprofit produces, modified for different target audiences.
Wrapping It Up
Gaining visibility among a specific target group. Going where they are. Searching them out. Using the least amount of resources for the most amount of gain. And, with the extremely limited amount of resources most nonprofits operate with, using those resources to get as much value as you can.
Getting your message out. Getting the funding your nonprofit needs. Moving your agency forward. Yes. You can do it.