Updated: Nov 5, 2020
Frankly Speaking News
February 2020 Issue
How do you get your nonprofit noticed?
Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to get your mission heard? Your stakeholders have many demands on their time. How do you cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd?
I attended a great Stanford Social Innovation Review (ssir.org) webinar by Anuja Khemka a few years ago on “How Non-profits Can Attract Corporate Partners.” (Despite being US-based I’ve found the SSIR to be a reasonably priced source of excellent nonprofit services – I suggest subscribing to their newsletter if you haven’t already.) Khemka’s tips were a great roadmap for how to rise above the throng and make your nonprofit get noticed. Today I want to share them with you, plus my thoughts on putting each one into action.
Do your research and make sure your organization’s impacts are aligned with your stakeholder’s goals. Let’s face it: if the people that you are speaking with are not interested in what you do you should shake hands, say thanks, and move on! Don’t waste their time or your own.
Create a culture of evaluation
Talk is cheap. You need to prove the value in your claims. This doesn’t always mean putting a dollar value on your work or doing a full SROI analysis, but it does mean evaluating your organization’s impact. Figure out what metrics best demonstrate your impact and learn to communicate them in a meaningful way.
Pursue thought leadership
It’s amazing how often I see the nonprofit world undervalue their wisdom and experience. Get out there, share your knowledge and get noticed! You may even want to explore social enterprise revenue activities - people will pay to learn what you know.
Learning is a lifelong adventure - you need to invest in professional development for yourself and your organization. Don’t forget to tap into your board’s connections; part of their role in your organization is to help with introductions and networking.
Tell real stories
It’s important to showcase your organization’s impact. Testimonials and personal narratives are one great way to do this; they cut to the heart of why people want to connect with you and get involved.
People want to help in more ways than donating; make it easy for them to do so. Figure out what your organization needs to position itself more competitively, and search for skilled volunteers who can help you build those areas. There is a world of pro-bono support waiting to be tapped, including organizations that match volunteers with organizations in need (such as Spark in Winnipeg).
Connect with program officers
Keep your relationships with your frontline advocates strong; invite them to events or to speak on a panel, have them go to on-site visits with your beneficiaries – anything that helps keep them connected. People give based on trust, and investing in your organization’s relationships will pay the biggest dividends of all!
These seven tips apply when communicating with all our various funding and supporting connections, whether financial, in-kind partners or strategic alliances. I encourage you to put them to work when you connect with all your stakeholders! By building your organization’s skills and focusing on how you share your story you can elevate your mission and build connections that last.