Raising more awareness is critical for the success of your organization. But before we dive into three creative ways to do just that, let’s make sure you’ve done your homework around branding and inbound marketing for your organization.
Before you start any efforts, you need to make sure that your branding has been developed and, most importantly, documented so that everyone can follow it. While most people immediately think about logos when discussing branding, it also needs to be about your message.
For example, do you have a rock solid description of your organization? Is that description used in all your communication programs? If not, why not? You are who you appear to be and that starts with your organization’s description.
Another part of your branding is telling your story—and making it personal. This helps people connect with your cause and your organization. To be personal you need to know your audience.
Do you have well developed and frequently updated donor personas? If not, see our blog post “How to Create a Donor Persona.” Personas can go a long way to developing your message, connecting with current and potential donors, as well as raising awareness for your organization.
This all leads into inbound marketing, or content marketing. Since we’ve been writing this blog for several years now, you can tell that we’re big believers in building online content that serves to attract supporters and potential supporters to an organization’s website. Once they’re on that website, we have an opportunity to move them from strangers to supporters and from donors to promoters.
Blogs from your leadership team, discussion groups, white papers, case studies, and research reports can all serve to attract potential supporters/donors to your website. It also helps to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise, which can further support a decision to donate to your organization.
We’ve written about this in “7 Fundraising Ideas to Consider in 2017” and “How Success is Measured for Nonprofits on HubSpot.” For further background, HubSpot has published “The Nonprofit Step by Step Guide to Inbound Marketing.”
Creating More Awareness
Branding and inbound marketing are the key items necessary to take full advantage of any relevant campaigns. Here are our thoughts on three creative options.
1) Amped-Up Social Media
We all have Facebook and Twitter, perhaps even Google+ and Instagram. But have you leveraged all that’s available just within Facebook? Of course, you’ll need to make full use of your organization’s Facebook Page but don’t forget about Facebook Groups that can be used to connect supporters and donors on the topics of the day. This would include your special initiatives and fundraisers.
In addition, Facebook Events can help you organize your events and get out all your critical communications in support of those events. We also like Facebook Ads which can help you reach people that wouldn’t normally even find your organization. For more information, look at Nonprofits on Facebook and their Raise Awareness section.
Don’t stop with Facebook either. YouTube has a nonprofit program which provides a number of tools and resources to help you tell your organization’s story using video, the most powerful medium in our tool kit. Plus, Google for Nonprofits provides tools and ad grants to help get your message out to a broader audience. There are also Twitter Ads that can help tell your story.
2) Awareness Days and Months
At the forefront of cause awareness programs are special days and even months that have been set aside just for those causes. For example, World Mental Health Day is October 10. You can find a calendar at Wikipedia’s List of Awareness Days as well as links to commemorative days/months and other related calendars.
With all the nonprofit organizations focusing on these key dates it is a perfect way to bring your story to the forefront. But you need to take the time to prepare for that special day. This can include:
- Creating a webpage that recommends the actions your supporters should take on that day.
- Hosting a Tweet Chat with a special hashtag for the day.
- Providing graphics that your supporters can share.
- Sending invitations to your supporter lists asking them to participate.
- Tweeting and post your messages throughout your awareness day.
- Following up with a report on the interest and perhaps donations you raised as a result.
3) Celebrate an Event or Milestone
This is somewhat related to awareness days, but instead it is an event or milestone that is specifically about your organization. It could be the anniversary of your founding as an organization or it could recognize a major milestone from the past or one that’s just been achieved.
This type of celebration not only raises awareness but also engages your supporters in the event itself. As just one example, I like the concept of super events where you recruit several hosts for smaller group events that all happen on the same day. That could be a gathering over coffee, lunch, or dinner.
Hitting a big fundraising target could also be a superb milestone to celebrate. And don’t forget about all the lead up to hitting that milestone that can serve to activate existing supporters and bring in new supporters as well.
We Can Help
Wherever you and your organization are in terms of getting the word out for your organization or cause, we can help. We've been working with nonprofits on all their marketing initiatives for quite a few years. We can ramp up your efforts and maximize your results.
Give us a call at (855) 329-4327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.