Did someone say FREE publicity?
Before donors can give they need to know you exist. So how do you build awareness of your wonderful mission without breaking your budget? You and as many people on your staff as possible need to be actively promoting - constantly.
Network with Focus
Join organizations (e.g., civic & business groups, www.BNI.com, trade associations, chamber of commerce, societies, anywhere people gather). Get on their committees and get noticed.
When someone asks, "What do you do?" How can you grab their attention, set yourself apart, and not sound like a commercial?
Reply by saying, "I can best answer that by telling a very short story." Tell a 1-2 minute success story (no longer) about someone you helped to powerfully illustrate what your mission does.
You'll emotionally grab your listener and then end with a simple statement: "That's just one recent example of how the nonprofit organization I work for, [fill in the blank with your org's name] helps people everyday to have better lives."
Say no more! They're almost guaranteed to ask you a question. Also be ready with your business card. Get their card and promise to send more information. Then do it.
Sizzling Press Release
Sending your own press releases is powerful. The press is always looking for stories so this is another opportunity to share your mission stories.
And here's another critical time to have a pro do the writing. There are a number of techniques and nuances to writing a stimulating and attention grabbing press release, but always cover the basics:
- Use the standard format
- Make your content compelling news
- Write it in the third person
- Keep it short, one page
- Convey your entire message in the headline
When could you (I can help you with this!) send a timely press release?
- If your nonprofit is involved in anything currently in the news, or related to something in the news
- For special events
- For a new web site, or a massive revision
- When you're a brand new nonprofit, or you just expanded your mission
And a good photograph (interesting and good resolution) sent with the press release will dramatically improve your chances of publication.
These resources may also be useful: www.prfree.com and toolkit.prnewswire.com
- Depending on your mission, you may benefit by writing articles in trade journals. An environmental nonprofit, for example, could write articles in science and education journals or magazines. It usually must be a content rich article and not a promotion of your cause. Just include a byline with your website and you'll benefit from the exposure.
- Ever consider online forums? Again, join forums related to your mission.
- Similar to trade journals, submit articles to online databases. There are several to choose from. Here are just three: www.ezineArticles.com, www.ArticleSubmit.com, and www.ArticlesBase.com
Those techniques will put the spotlight on your nonprofit mission at little to no cost. I'll cover even more ideas next month.
Do something every week to promote your nonprofit organization and you'll have more funds to perform more great work.
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Just for fun - a quote for you
"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." (Sir Winston Churchill)