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- almost as if everyone already follows them on social media, sits in 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 are able to articulate, in a compelling way, what value they are bringing 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 through a number of ways:
Visitor arrives on your site through a search engine, but they weren’t looking for you by name.
A social media link
A link emailed by another person
In order to make it clear how you help the community, you need to simply and clearly tell people what it is that you do.
An organization I’ve been involved with for quite some time is called “Hope For Justice”. Their name in and of itself doesn’t necessarily tell you what they do. But they’ve summed there 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 overly ambiguous, flighty or vague.
Need some help in starting the process of telling your story? Here’s 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 everyday?
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, make sure to 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 that people see on your website, should be present on your social media, and on print pieces galore.
Effectively telling your story as a nonprofit is only one piece to the puzzle. To learn the four other crucial pieces to our proven formula for nonprofit success, check out our FREE download below, The Proven Formula That Will Make You Rethink Your Nonprofit Strategy. It's chock-full of great tips, interactive content and checklists to make sure you are fully equipped as you lead your nonprofit.