It's common for nonprofit leaders and staff to believe so passionately in their cause that they think it's obvious to outsiders why they should get involved or believe in their work.
They act as if everyone already follows them on social media, sits at their board meetings, and was present at the "aha moment" when the vision all began.
In an increasingly crowded space, it's more important than ever that nonprofits can articulate, in a compelling way, what value they are bringing to a particular group of people.
It seems to be a common misconception that everyone who comes to your website will know exactly what your organization does. That's often far from the truth. People find your website without knowing what you do in many ways:
- Visitor arrives on your site through a search engine, but they aren't looking for you by name.
- A social media link
- A link emailed by another person
To make it clear how you help the community, you need to clearly tell people what it is that you do.
Our team has helped an organization called "Hope For Justice." Their name in and of itself doesn't necessarily tell you what they do. But they've summed their story up into one concise statement.
They say, "We exist to bring an end to modern slavery by rescuing victims, restoring lives, and reforming society."
In one sentence, I know what they do. It's not ambiguous, flighty, or cute.
Need some help in starting the process of telling your story? Here are a few questions that may prompt a starting place for you.
- Why did your nonprofit come to be?
- What problem were you trying to solve?
- How does your nonprofit solve that problem?
- What motivates your team to wake up and come to work every day?
- Whose life is impacted because your nonprofit exists?
Make it clear. Make it concise. Make it compelling.
Once you've come up with your one-sentence description that meets "The 3 C's" above, test it out on people who are not deeply involved in your organization.
Send it to a group of 10-15 people of all ages (again, make sure they aren't already familiar with your nonprofit) and ask them what they think your nonprofit does based on your tagline (promise statement, mission statement, etc.).
You may be surprised to find that something you thought was clear was actually only something that could be understood by someone who is already aware of the mission.
Once you've got your messaging nailed down, put it everywhere! It should be the first thing people see on your website, present on your social media, and even on printed pieces (yes, they still exist).
Effectively telling your story as a nonprofit is only one puzzle piece. To learn the four other crucial pieces to our proven formula for nonprofit success, check out our FREE download below, The 5 Strategies Every Growing Nonprofit Uses Workbook.
It's chock-full of great tips, interactive content, and checklists to ensure you are fully equipped.
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