5 Areas to Focus on for Growth in 2018

5 Areas to Focus on for Growth in 2018

Charitable giving is expected to grow by about 3% in 2018. Here are five areas to focus on to ensure that your nonprofit organization is poised to attract more support and continue to build on successes in the coming year.

1 – Strengthen brand awareness and reputation.

The goal of branding for nonprofits is to create a well-known, trusted, and respected name so that your organization is the place to go when your audience is  ready to take action. There are many organizations working on similar causes, so creating a strong brand that has a consistent voice and messaging across different media and marketing platforms is critical for awareness. Be clear and transparent about your work, funding, and impact as part of your reputation strategy.  Reinforce your reputation by sharing timely and useful information that demonstrates your organization’s expertise in the issue.

2 – Stand out from the crowd.

People are inundated with information from all directions and, after a while, it all starts to blur. It’s important to find ways to stand out and cut through the clutter.

  • Start with visuals, which people notice first and help them decide if they will read content. Capture attention with design that is simple, yet appealing and distinct.
  • Then, tell them how and why you are different.  Better yet, show them.
  • Listen to what your audience is talking about on social media, and join the conversation with unique perspectives and ideas.
  • Partner with others who support your cause and have a strong following. Leverage their networks and influence to grab your audience’s attention.

3 – Share engaging content.

Once you’ve captured their attention, get them engaged so what you share sticks – and they come back for more. In order to figure out how best to engage your audience, listen to them. Find out what matters to them, what they are talking about and how. Use that insight to craft messages and content that will resonate.

  • Share stories for a personal/human touch that can draw audiences in and help them feel rather than just know.
  • Create videos, so that audiences can hear and see what you are saying rather than just reading it. They are more likely to remember video content than visuals and text.
  • Develop interactive content, such as quizzes and polls, to get audiences thinking and sharing their thoughts. These can also be a great way to gather information and get feedback.   
  • Make it easy for people to share your content so you can grow your reach and engagement even further.

4 – Make it easy.

There are many ways people want to support nonprofit work, through monetary gifts, volunteering time, or donating goods and services. Once you’ve got them engaged, provide clear and easy options for each of these to maximize support. Make sure information about your nonprofit  is accessible on a range of platforms, including mobile. For those who are making monetary gifts, provide an option for electronic giving. Also provide recurring giving options — smaller monthly amounts that equate to tangible solutions (for example, $25 a month will educate a child).  This allows donors to give more each year by budgeting and also allows your organization to better forecast monthly investments.

5 – Build strong relationships.

It takes more effort to find new donors and volunteers than to retain those who are already supporting your organization. Create a system for tracking and regular outreach, consider using customer relationship management (CRM) technology if you are large organization with many donors and volunteers to manage.

  • Take the time to thank them and show your appreciation.
  • Keep them updated on your efforts, and show them how they are making an impact.
  • Ask for help only once out of every three or four times you reach out.  Use the other outreach activities to reinforce the need and show how the partnership with your donors is an important parts of the solution.
  • Suggest other ways they can support your work, or ask them for ideas on how else they can contribute.
  • Provide training and support for roles they are taking on, and ask for regular feedback to make sure you are meeting their needs.

Make it a win-win relationship so that it turns into a lasting one.

About the Author:

Aparna Ramakrishnan has 20 years of experience developing and evaluating social sector programs. As Principal at Devi Partners, she provides expertise and technical assistance in strategy, communications, partnerships, research and evaluation to nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations that do good.
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