Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in building healthy communities by providing helpful services. With many nonprofits supporting the most vulnerable during this pandemic, planning effective public relations and marketing strategies will get the attention of the right audience, and build donor awareness.
Given there are more than one million nonprofit organizations in the United States, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, it’s a sizeable market. These companies focus on different causes and have different goals across all industries, including housing, education, healthcare, art, technology and science.
As a result, creating the right messaging to reach the right audience is critical in setting your nonprofit apart from the rest. How can it be done effectively? Here are the top ten tips that will keep your nonprofit at the front of the line:
1. Target the right niche
Nonprofit organizations have a mission, which identifies with a specific niche. Know what it is – and go after it. For example, The Hoyt Organization provides public relations services to a nonprofit that delivers service-enriched housing programs to residents living in affordable housing communities. We identified multifamily owners and developers as key targets for this organization. This action connected us with the right media outlets to tell the right story – to the right audience.
2. Establish a memorable online presence
Make sure your online presence is memorable. Use your media coverage to help tell your story, create a newsroom and link back to your efforts on your social media pages. Leverage your social channels – such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to share your brand stories. Don’t forget to use SEO to expand your digital presence. Remember to include links to your media coverage in your annual newsletters and encourage your employees to share this coverage on their LinkedIn pages.
3. Keep tabs on your competitors every day
Find tools to help you monitor the news of your competitors. Track their social media coverage, set up Google alerts of their opinion leaders, check their websites and identify the ways you are doing things better and differently. Remember, they could be going after the same market you are so make sure you stand out.
4. Create compelling content
People will read your message if it’s interesting, compelling and tells a great story. Use consistent messaging but go deeper by telling success stories. Use high-resolution images and video from team members to grab your audience’s attention. As a nonprofit, team up with creative photographers and videographers to step up your game and stand out. You can also use “home footage” from a cell phone or webcam to tell an organic story if you’re at a special event or are practicing social distancing.
5. Think like a “local”
Local PR and marketing outreach can be an effective way to reach your target audience and build your credibility in your own backyard. Nonprofits that do not have a national reach can always leverage the local newspapers, blogs, radio stations and television stations. If you can get enough coverage from the local and trade, you can attract national attention.
6. Check your calendar; leverage holidays and national observances
Nonprofits often have charitable work associated with the holidays. Plan ahead and develop a few virtual events around relevant holidays and national observances. Take it a step further and create your national observance and create a campaign!
7. Join an association
Expanding your network gets easy when you join an association in your industry. Associations help you learn more about the industry while introducing you to industry professionals. This may give you an advantage over competitors that don’t have access to those same individuals. As a member of a reputable association, you build your credibility as an industry leader. Consider joining the National Council of Nonprofits, a trusted resource and proven advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. The association provides access to trustworthy information on legal, operational and capacity-building matters.
8. Showcase your leadership
Making your leadership more visible will build the credibility of your nonprofit. Consider writing thought leadership pieces for trade media outlets. Demonstrate your expertise by sharing business insights and providing research or data to back your statements. Bring your story to life with real-life examples or case studies. Then, remember to circulate your coverage to your stakeholders, including your clients, board of directors and potential donors.
9. Highlight your partners and donors
Co-branding with various donors and/or others your organization is connected to will build your reputation. For example, if you received a generous donation from a well-known company, tell the world by pitching reporters who cover that company. Consider distributing a press release announcing the contribution. Always remember to clear it with that company first.
10. Be PR savvy and invest in tools
There are a number of tools available that will expand your efforts with very little investment. For example, using a wire service to distribute your press release will expand your reach as well as your digital presence. There are also platforms that can help you schedule and publish your social media content. One such tool, Hootsuite, is one of many that will help you manage all of your social content in a single calendar. All of these platforms allow you to leverage your time and efforts, and are worth exploring.
We look forward to partnering with you.