Sometimes running a nonprofit organization can be crazy. Ronn Torossian has helped with many nonprofit campaigns and shares some ideas you can use to build a strong organization.
- Create a complete strategy. You need a plan for how to grow your organization. Decide where your resources will go initially and at what point you will add new levels to the existing plan. If you plan to have a big fundraiser, when will that happen? Will it be an annual event? How will you make it applicable to your cause? When you create a page for your organization on any social media platform, who will be in charge of posting and interacting with followers? If you establish a plan that covers everything you will be doing over the next 6-12 months, you’ll know what positions need to be filled. You’ll also have a general idea of the time needed daily or weekly. If you have no plan, people won’t know where to focus their energy or efforts.
- Communication. Since your volunteers may not be the same from day to day, communication becomes even more important. You can create task lists, and steps to follow so any new volunteer can start right away. But communication goes beyond that step. People who are representing your organization, whether as a receptionist or a spokesperson need to know how to represent the cause. So give them easy access to the information they need. Also do your best to keep the flow of information mostly through official channels, this saves you from any misunderstandings and the cleanup that could be required.
- Reputation building. As a nonprofit you are asking for volunteers and donations in some form, so your reputation is important. That means you need to get your organization’s name, efforts, and event information to the media with plenty of time to include a write-up in their publication. Get to know the people who are most likely to be telling the story. Without taking a lot of their time, find out how they like to receive information. Are they more likely to publish something if you give them a good photo and a quick statement of less than 50 words that can be printed under the photo? And do pictures with children end up printed more often than adults or scenery? If you know these details, you can provide what they want. And when that happens, your organization’s good work will be more likely to show up in an article – giving third-party validation.
- Train the people who represent your nonprofit. This is worth spending some time and even funds to do well. Your spokesperson needs to feel easy in front of the camera and also when speaking to groups. They need to present the great stories and ideas happening in your organization. This is not a job you want to give to just anyone, this is a specialty position, fill it well and your organization (and cause) will reap the benefits.
- Brand your nonprofit with stories. Listen, ask questions, spend time with the people who benefit from your efforts and also the volunteers. What are they seeing? What humorous or cute and cuddly stories or videos can they share with you and the public? Gather and tell those stories – as many as you can. Stories tie people’s emotions to your organization and the work being done there.
- Use social media platforms. Social media sites are the perfect place to share those stories. Also, they are a great place to take the time to get to know a bit about your followers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions they can answer with a word or two – questions that are all about the follower and nothing more. What is their favorite dessert or do they prefer Country or Rock music? When people know you are interested in them, they usually become more interested in you.