Nonprofit organizations have sometimes experienced challenges such as a lack of funding, limited resources, and poor communication tools. But in today’s technology era, like-minded individuals can donate, volunteer, and fund raise for nonprofit organizations from across the world like never before. In order for their audience to be reached, nonprofit organizations need to utilize a few basic communication strategies to connect with the right audience.
Determine the Organization’s Goals for Communication
For most nonprofit organizations, a communication strategy should include benchmark goalsthat allow efforts to be tracked for successes and/or failures. This ensures that plans can be optimized and improved to help boost future campaigns. Generally, a communication strategy should include goals such as:
- Establish organization’s branding and overall message.
- Raise awareness of the organization and/or cause.
- Engage with larger audiences.
- Sustain or increase support from donors, volunteers, and fund-raisers.
Establish a Target Audience
In order to establish a target audience, nonprofits must first identify a person’s interests, wishes, and desire to join or assist the nonprofit organization. Identifying a target market can be accomplished by:
- Researching various blogs that are related to the nonprofit organization.
- Observing the audiences who engage with online content related to the organization or a similar cause.
- Studying how the audience is finding existing ads or online content from competing organizations.
Once a target audience has been established, a nonprofit organization can accurately communicate its story and mission. This provides a greater chance that interested individuals will donate or volunteer for the organization.
Utilize Multiple Social Media Networks
Facebook and Twitter are arguably the most popular of the social networks, however, opening up communication through a larger number of channels is a great way to broaden the scope of the audience. Other channels include Linked In, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, and Vine. Depending on the audience the organization is targeting, being active on a single network is simply not enough these days.
American Red Cross is an excellent example of a nonprofit utilizing multiple social networks to connect with a large audience. With over 1.8 million followers on Twitter and nearly 700,000 Facebook followers, American Red Cross is able to reach a massive audience while providing helpful information to readers. This information can include tips for driving safely on winter roads, fire drills, and even heroic stories from people around the country who benefited from the organization.
UNICEF has also reached a sizeable audience and has generated new opportunities for encouraging nations to invest in education. Through social media, the nonprofit publishes powerful images and messages that are easily shared among their millions of followers. By engaging with individuals on multiple networks, these images and inspirational messages can be spread throughout the different online communities, bringing more attention to their organization and gaining more followers and donations at the same time.
Nonprofit organizations can benefit by publishing related and useful content throughout social media in order to spread their mission to new potential volunteers and donors. Each will have a unique approach to how it tells its story. Aside from the traditional methods of communicating or marketing a nonprofit’s mission, there are a number of new possibilities to choose from with social media, including: creating a blog, commenting on existing blogs, participating in discussion groups, and posting status updates on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
Tell the Organization’s Story
A good story is relatable to people of all ages and cultures. A great story can inspire, attract great attention, or respond to something meaningful in the lives of people around the world. The most memorable stories often have unique characters, and a problem or issue that people emotionally connect with. Continue telling these stories as a part of any successful communication strategy. Nonprofit organizations must work to connect with the audience through great storytelling.
Storytelling comes in many forms—utilizing a variety of media is a great way to improve and expand a communication strategy.. It’s important that the story both spikes the interest of the audience, and also offers something valuable to them within the story. Whether it’s for further knowledge or fulfilment through volunteer work, in order to effectively communicate, nonprofit organizations must have something to offer that will tie into the passions of their audience.
Lead the Conversation
The online Master of Arts in Communication offered by Queens University of Charlotte provides students with an understanding of how effective communication impacts successful strategies and processes in organizations from any industry.
For those interested in founding a nonprofit organization or business, this degree program teaches how to deploy new and traditional communication tools and platforms to achieve professional and personal goals. Students will discover how to:
- Identify and understand the needs and motivations of different audiences and communities.
- Comprehend and leverage communication dynamics in various forms of media.
- Create and analyze meaningful messages and texts.
- Craft effective content and visuals.
Effective communication plans play a key part in the world of business and nonprofits. Learn the tools and strategies needed to achieve success in the modern workplace at Queens University of Charlotte.