One of the hardest things about running a non-profit is getting the word out to prospective donors and constituencies about your mission and why donors should support your fundraising efforts. With many causes competing for prospective donors’ time and attention, it can be difficult to get and keep their interest.In the age of smart phones and ‘round-the-clock stimulus, standing out can be tough. Here are 6 quick tips to help you do just that:
- Own social - of the best ways to let the world know about your not-for-profit enterprise is to develop and maintain a strong presence on social media. Don’t just blast out posts on your social channels and hope that people magically start interacting with you. You have to be engaged. Join or start groups related to those you serve. Support, comment on and share content shared by members of your community.
It’s a good idea to develop a content map / editorial calendar to ensure that you have a regular rhythm of activity on your social channels. You can use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to automate your social media posts. Just be cautioned - using these tools is no substitute for actively monitoring your social accounts and regularly interacting with your audience.
- Be a story teller – People act on emotion and try to justify their emotional response with fact. Telling a great story about how your non-profit helps those in need creates a compelling, emotional appeal for support. It humanizes your organization and makes your mission compelling in the eyes of would-be donors. Use different mediums to convey your stories. Using tools like videos, podcasts and infographics can draw in larger and more varied audiences.
- Own your reputation – Recent scandals with several large non-profits have caused donors to be more wary than ever. As Chris Anderson famously said: “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.” Invite your clients to leave positive reviews for you. Make a point to respond to any negative review. Claim your organization’s profile on review sites and make your listings stand out. A recent study found that users are 74% more likely to do business with an organization that actively responds to negative reviews.
- Be easy to do business with – Make your website easy to find, and key contact information is easy to locate. Ensure that it is easy for donors to quickly and easily donate to you online.
- Be a thought leader – One of the surest way to standout is to be a thought-leader in your organization’s area of specialization. Look for opportunities to speak in public. Offer to provide content to news outlets in your area. “Own” the subject you want to be known for so you’re the first person they think of when they think about making donations.
- Be transparent and accountable – In recent years, donors have shown great support for organizations that provide transparency in their operations. Providing visibility into efficiency and executive compensation are two of the most important data points that prospective donors look at when evaluating a not-for-profit.
Cutting through the white noise that inundates the lives of prospective donors is a challenge, but providing a positive, authoritative voice for your agency can go a long way. Keep tuned in to Zinner’s blog for more tips and tricks about fundraising and not-for-profit operations.