What you do as a nonprofit is important. What’s more important is how you effectively communicate your message to increase your impact. Whether your message is to inform your audience about your mission or to communicate with donors, having a tailored message is crucial. In the age we live in, social media is the best and most effective way of achieving this but any of these 4 guidelines can be applied to various forms of communication your nonprofit chooses to use.
Identify Your Audience
Who are you talking to? It seems like a no-brainer when you think about it but you’ll be surprised to discover that a lot of nonprofits don’t work through this question. By taking the time to process who you’re speaking to, what they like, what makes them upset, what brings them joy etc, your return will improve. Instead of screaming your message into the darkness, your nonprofit will be able to pinpoint that target audience.
Emphasize the ‘why’ behind your message
This is especially important for nonprofits. Given the social and philanthropic nature of your work, the reasoning (or the ‘why’) behind the message is what is going to bring people in to garner support. Look at it this way: if a man in a suit, that you’ve never met before, comes up to you, says a few nice things and then says “follow me!”, what would your reaction be? There are definitely some that might follow this gentleman but the vast majority will say, “absolutely not. Get away. You’re a psycho.” However, if he explained his reasoning behind why you should follow him, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision rather than an outright no.
If you don’t have a company brand guide, it might be time to look into getting one started. It’s going to take some time in the beginning but as your nonprofit grows, the brand’s consistency will keep your identity solid. Take the Boys & Girls Club of America for example. They have over 4,200 club affiliations yet their marketing and messaging are cohesive wherever they are. This is largely in part to a branding guide that they have put in placed to keep the aesthetics of the organization consistent to the point that all you need is to see the logo to know who they are.
Stay Relevant & Listen!
When speaking to your audience, remember that this is not a one-sided conversation. In fact, your audience is probably having a lot of conversations that you’re not even a part of and you should be! The simplest way to get this done is to look for those conversations using social media. Every social media platform has a way to track certain keywords or phrases that are relevant to your nonprofit. By seeing what the audience is talking about, you’re able to tailor your message to what is going on in the world, thus, joining in on the conversation.