It can be tough to keep the money flowing into a non-profit organization. And, if you are a smaller charity, the challenge is as great as your resources are small. It’s a question all charity PR teams face – how can we get funding if people don’t know about us, and how can we tell people about us if we don’t have the funding?
The answer, of course, is a well-planned, creative and properly executed public relations plan. Long-term goals and honest short-term benchmarks to continue the progress while building for a bigger and better tomorrow.
The first step in the process is shoring up the current connections. If your team is not actively and effectively advocating for your organization, something is broken and must be fixed. At the heart of every PR campaign, no matter the size, is properly executed communication. If your team doesn’t know what to say, how to say it or when to say it – or they lack the motivation to learn, then that problem has to be addressed before any others.
Here’s the thing, even if you get “out there” and get the word out, if people come in and your internal communication is a mess, they will have a negative experience. And, studies have proved, again and again, a negative experience is much worse than no experience at all. When you earn an opportunity – particularly on a shoestring budget – you MUST knock it out of the park. That starts internally, with everyone in your organization being on the same page and living that plan out in all they do for your brand.
Some people will tell you that commenting on blog posts or social media posts is a “good way” to increase your charity PR at no cost. Don’t listen to that. These days, comment threads are like quicksand. People quickly get sucked in. or they easily escape. There is no real interaction with Nameless Faceless co-commenters … unless there is some contention.
Conversely, creating good content for blogs and social media sites is a must in today’s environment. The keyword here is “good.” If your content is Just Like Everything Else, expect people to keep scrolling. You need to be rich, vibrant and eye-catching, you have to leap up and grab their attention – then give them a reason to keep coming back. It’s not good enough to Just Post Something.
Build relationships with the media. If you want your brand to be delivered to a wider audience, you need to build genuine relationships with opinion makers and established content deliverers in your area. Don’t know any? Find a reason to meet them. And the key here, again, is a genuine relationship. The press can spot a leech a mile away.
Give them a reason to connect with you, not ten reasons to run when they see you coming.
Bottom line, managing nonprofit PR on a shoestring budget is not about gimmicks or quick-hitting programs that go nowhere. It’s about a solid, long-term success strategy.