How to advance your nonprofit's mission year-round: Guest view
It's no secret that your nonprofit organization plays a key role in helping people in need year-round.
Whether it’s helping families who have scarce food resources, providing support to the community following a disaster, or connecting people with housing needs or emergency services, your organization, in many instances, is a lifeline in providing assistance and referrals.
Nonprofits in Central Pennsylvania rely extensively on community support in order to keep the doors open and continue to help people in need. While significant donations and support certainly helps during the holiday season, your group may face financial and donation challenges other times of the year. It’s important for you and your team to take steps to ensure your organization is top of mind with current donors, while also growing and sustaining awareness of who you are and what you do.
Increasing awareness and visibility is vital to maintaining needed support levels, but also growing your donation base.
There are a number of tools that your nonprofit can use that are either free or low cost to assist with outreach and engagement in the community.
One of those tools is public relations and securing earned media, where stories are published or broadcast that feature your organization or group. It can be a story about an event that highlights or significantly features your nonprofit, or a story that connects your organization to a newsworthy or timely topic.
Connecting through content
Creating content, including writing and posting blogs, is another great way to help your group’s efforts to connect with those who want to support it. These blogs can feature a variety of topics — a feature or spotlight of a star volunteer, a particular project, or a specific community need or issue.
When you combine this content creation with optimization for search engine results — researching and using keywords relevant to your target audiences — your nonprofit’s website will remain closer to the top of Google search results. In addition to featuring these blogs on your website, they can also be shared via social media pages.
Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are also helpful in providing information about your organization, while also controlling your message.
Whether it’s sharing content (such as blogs) or photos from an event or outing, news or details about a specific need in your community, it’s a great way to let the community know about your organization and how it’s making an impact. In addition, you may want to consider allocating funds toward social media targeting.
Using this approach ensures that your social media posts are reaching the audiences you want to engage with, especially if you want to reach a specific demographic or region (local, statewide, etc.).
Community event participation
Participation in community events or through specific speaking engagements can also ensure your nonprofit connects with the community and promotes its mission and goals.
Engaging with the public at community events, such as health fairs, can foster relationships and connect you with current and potential supporters and potential partners.
Speaking at a conference provides the opportunity to build awareness of your group and garner additional support with key stakeholders and influencers (legislators, policy experts, etc.).
Many nonprofits also have benefitted by partnering with like-minded organizations to create solutions to a variety of challenges facing the community. For example, your group can work with another nonprofit to address a specific concern, such as homelessness or hunger. As a result, that collaboration can result in your collective efforts (and awareness) going much further than a specific campaign or effort.
While these free and low-cost options for your organization will take some effort, energy and commitment, they can result in increased awareness and support, allowing your nonprofit to continue to move forward to help those in need of your services and support in the community.
Chris Savarese is vice president of client services at Gavin, an advertising and public relations agency in York. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.