Nonprofits are tasked with taking one message and communicating it to many broad audiences at the same time. Sound familiar? Whether it’s beneficiaries, donors, or employees (just to name a few), all too often, organizations get caught up trying to say all the things to all the people. Yes, amplifying your message is important. But your message can become too complicated, time-consuming, and diluted when you speak to multiple audiences.
The biggest impact you can make is to realize you have just ONE audience. Those are the people that you are trying to help. If you’re so focused on who you serve, those other audiences will see your passion for what you do and that you do it so well that their only choice is to believe in you. They need less explaining and rationale on why you need financial support — which, if you’re explaining, you’re losing.
They see it, so they believe it.
This lays the groundwork for today’s blog post, which I wanted to dive into further after being a guest on the Next in Nonprofits podcast (click here to listen to the episode). We talked about making a bold promise and why that’s the key to amplifying nonprofits.
It All Starts with the Message
It sounds so simple, making a bold promise to engage your audience. To think about amplifying nonprofits, you have to think about competition. “Competition” tends to be a bad word for most nonprofits — at least, that’s the word’s reputation. But it’s not that you’re beating out other organizations from your sector. There are multiple opportunities to collaborate and be stronger. But to gain awareness in peoples’ minds, you have to fight for market share.
Saying what your next step is going to be isn’t going to inspire anyone. You have to make your promise big and put it out there. It needs to be bold, uncomfortable, and authentic. And you aren’t going to get there alone without the help of others. But whether you’re going to end X, start Y, or ensure every child has Z, you need to put a stake in the ground. To do that, you need to:
#1 Focus on Your Audience
#2 Get Over Yourself
I know it’s scary and uncomfortable, but you need to get over that need to have certainty. You need to put yourself and your organization out there to make something so bold happen.
Competition is Essential for Amplifying Nonprofits
Let’s think about this in a sports analogy. I live in Kentucky, and basketball is everything. I can’t imagine saying there can only be one team. The most exciting part about watching basketball is bringing everyone together to see how they compete. There’s a dynamic that lifts everyone up. You learn something from the best team, the smallest team, and the underdog. You just have to play and continue to perform.
You don’t go out there saying you don’t want anyone to get hurt or feel bad or want everyone to like you when the game ends. That’s not how you win. Yes, there are some rules about what’s good, right, and fair. But within that framework, every successful sports team goes in thinking they’re going to win and that they’re excited to be there. That’s exactly what the bold promise does for amplifying nonprofits.
You Made the Bold Promise, Now What?
Once you’ve made the bold promise, how do you show up that way, and where do you start?
Step one is having the fundamentals in place. All too often — I’ll walk into larger organizations that are doing so many things right. But they may have centers that offer services or education that aren’t utilized correctly. It’s wasted potential. It’s paramount to work through your marketing tactics to see the journey of how an outsider comes to you, whether it’s someone looking to volunteer or make a donation.
Ask yourself: What happens when someone calls your phone number? Or fills out a form asking for help? Is your website mobile optimized? Do you have a Google Business Profile? Really sit down and plot out that experience. Marketing is a foreign topic in so many nonprofits, and many organizations don’t do their due diligence. Make sure those touchpoints are there, that it’s easy to find you, and your audience is welcomed when they come into contact with your brand. You have to take these steps to make a bold promise.
At Fieldtrip — we couldn’t tout the necessity of making a bold promise without having one ourselves.
Ours is “United We Create” because we create opportunities for everyone. Whatever you do to make your bold promise, start those action steps to bring it to reality. It’s something we can all do to amplify our voices.
Learn more about nonprofit marketing through our Mission Multiplier video series – https://wearefieldtrip.com/journal/ . If there’s further questions, feel free to schedule a meeting with me – https://calendly.com/janewp