One of the biggest challenges for a nonprofit is to keep their communications fresh and engaging. Nonprofits can fall victim to uninspiring communications for any number of reasons. Maybe they’ve begun to focus too closely on the organization and not the cause. Or they fail to capture compelling stories about their mission in action. Or it could be as simple as using language that falls flat.
No matter the cause, nonprofits can take their communications from uninspiring to energizing by following a few simple tips.
1. Educate your champions
Many nonprofits assume their supporters know all there is to know about their organization. While they may be invested in the cause, most donors probably don’t know as much as you think. Make your champions fill like insiders. Keep them informed about what’s going on with your impact, services and new opportunities in which to get engaged.
2. Have a clear ONE THING
Trying to be all things to all people is a common trap many nonprofits fall into as they mature. Don’t lose sight of your WHY and work to clearly and consistently communicate it. If your mission is to end homelessness, don’t confuse your supporters with stories about the problems in education. While the two may be connected, a laser focus on homelessness will keep your champions engaged and invested.
3. Be clear about your need
I can’t count how many organizations can’t clearly answer the question, “What do you need?” How can champions help you if they don’t know what you lack? Whether it’s time, talent or treasure, or some combination, be sure to clearly identify what you need and how your supporters can help. This can mean providing an easy link to your donation page or creating a page that lists specific products your organization needs to operate and serve your clients as well as where your supporters can get them.
4. Use video to tell stories
One researcher predicts that 74% of all online content in 2017 will be video content. That’s not because video is easier or cheaper. It’s because people WANT to consume video content over flat, written content.
That doesn’t mean your organization needs to spend thousands of dollars on video, but it does mean you should learn the basics of video. Whether it’s using your smartphone to capture testimonials or using Facebook Live or Instastories to record interesting events, you have to start somewhere.
Don’t be intimidated. Of course, if you do happen to have a budget, investing a little into video can create even more compelling video content. For an example, check out our work with Mission Increase Raleigh.
5. Plan ahead
This is critical. Most organizations create their content on the fly. This usually means it lacks any real connection or organization to your other content and is more likely to be produced just to have something to post.
Trust me, we get it. But there’s a more effective way. Develop a simple content strategy that identifies quarterly themes that support specific messages you want to communicate during that time period. These can be focused on topics that help your supporters better understand your organization and drive them to clear calls to action. It will be obvious that you’ve put some thought into it and will be taken more seriously by your champions.
Whether it’s bread or content, nobody likes something stale. While it does take some level of commitment to keep your content fresh and engaging, just a small investment will pay huge dividends. Take the time to educate your champions, focus on your one clear thing, leverage video and make a content plan. You will see your supporters become more engaged and inspired to support you.