From improving literacy to helping communities recover after natural disasters, nonprofits take on vital roles to do good in the world. There are currently over 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the United States, which includes private foundations, public charities, chambers of commerce and civic leagues. These nonprofit organizations each have a unique and powerful mission to serve their community and the world at large.
In order to succeed in their missions, these nonprofits need to stand out, attract the right donors and sponsors, acquire grants and rally volunteers to their causes. How do you get noticed in a busy world with many growing and pressing concerns? Getting noticed in the public eye happens through action and taking steps to do good work.
But in order to educate the community and remain visible and vital, you need to keep these three simple truths in mind.
1. You Need a Professional Web Presence
If your nonprofit and its volunteers are out in the world doing good works, their actions will be noticed. Lives will be impacted by the time taken to care for and about others, yet a broader visibility is required to grow. In this technologically driven world, a professional web presence is vital to the sustainability of any nonprofit.
Your nonprofit needs its own web address to direct volunteers to areas of need and donors to pages about making a contribution. A website can be affordably built and maintained for upstart charities by using a website builder such as Wix or a WordPress template. Enough can’t be said for a professionally designed website. Consult with a local graphic designer to start planning your website.
Your professional web presence extends beyond the website. You’ll need social media channels in the areas where you will best reach your audience. As of 2014, 98 percent of nonprofits used Facebook to network, while Twitter followed at 70 percent. Different social channels could be used for different types of audiences, such as using YouTube to train volunteers through video.
Establish your social media presence by asking who your target audience is. Include age, location, socio-economic background and more.
2. Your Cause Needs to Be Relatable
How clear is your mission statement? How you present that mission statement will be different for each audience — perhaps more formally for corporate sponsors and less formally for volunteers you want to encourage.
Forget wordy and lengthy explanations and statistics for a moment and get back to basics with a relatable elevator pitch. Focus on why you cared enough to get involved. Why should they donate time or money to this cause?
Well thought-out goals and detailed plans should be simple to share. Relevant facts and calls to action in easily digestible bites of information rouse people to do their part. So — what is their part?
Break it down for them and be aware of your long-term and short-term goals. Maybe you know that over 21 million Americans have a substance addiction and only one in five individuals ever get help. If you’re looking to bridge the gap, detail how you know your nonprofit can help those four individuals who slip through the cracks — with the community’s help. Is that through navigating treatment programs and information and linking resources to the people? Is it by offering scholarships to younger individuals who successfully complete a program and apply to college?
If anyone has ever slipped through the cracks — missed out on education or had a relative addicted to a substance, for example — the cause will be relatable. Make it a conversation.
3. You Need to Outreach for Publicity
Outreach for publicity and network like you mean it, because you do mean it. Reach out to mentors and leaders in your community who have had an eye on your nonprofit. Ask them to make introductions to foundations — if not to sponsor then to collaborate on events for the greater good of the community.
Create an advocacy plan to amplify your nonprofit, distributed across relevant channels and filled with data and opportunities to act. Listen to the needs of others in the community and share resources. Contribute to supporters, too. Think of your experts as brand ambassadors who will communicate your cause in a relatable way, inspiring collaboration and action. When events and successes occur, announce them and get them covered!
Nonprofits serve their communities by getting resources to the people who need them and bridging gaps in opportunity. Visibility is vital to the nonprofit’s sustainability. But in order to grow, nonprofits need to get noticed — and that’s best done by developing a professional web presence, making sure your cause is relatable and outreaching for publicity.
By following these simple truths, your nonprofit will be noticed and you can focus on doing good works.