It’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of social media in spreading awareness of a nonprofit’s mission, but Twitter feeds and Facebook posts are not the only avenue for branding a charitable vision. Potential supporters hear as much as they read, and in-person conversations can catalyze word-of-mouth efforts just as effectively as social media. Through interfacing with a screen might feel more accessible or immediate, it’s important that organizations don’t ignore other strategies for maximizing funds.
If your oratorical skills are a little rusty, here are some tips to get started:
Craft the message
A nonprofit’s ambassadors should approach the conversation with a purpose. Before facilitating a dialogue, it’s important to develop a concrete message beyond a simple request for donations, noted Nonprofit Hub. Prospective backers are more likely to listen to words they personally connect with and are also liable to feel more valued if the focus is more on a mission than money.
Taking the narrative approach is an effective way to facilitate an organic approach. Storytelling doesn’t need to take the shape of formal, written content. An authentic success story is easy to share, according to nonprofit-solutions firm The Razoo Foundation. Just make sure to keep the focus on the individuals involved, and not on the nonprofit itself. Document management software can organize these stories, providing a reference guide in place of cold conversation.
Spread the word
Three or four staff members can’t transmit nearly as much conversational awareness as a team of 10 or 20. The more evangelists that are on board, the more the buzz multiplies. One way to build a consciousness-raising team is to solicit the help of the most enthusiastic, involved volunteers, suggested Randy Hawthorne, executive director of Nonprofit Hub.
Ask willing participants to spark conversation in the streets, with the objective of ramping up excitement about the cause. This approach should not entail canvassing for money, as doing so risks an audience turning off instead of tuning in. Don’t leave your volunteers to find footing on their own. Prepare them for this task by clearly outlining best practices and things to avoid.
Volunteers aren’t the only set who can join the effort to create buzz. Energy and engagement from board members can create a world of opportunity for nonprofits. It’s important that an organization communicate regularly with its board in order to sustain its passion for the cause. If these advocates know all the recent goings-on and success stories, they’ll have more than enough to talk about with others who are likely important connections. Stay connected with board members and they’ll naturally be champions of philanthropy.