A few months ago I wrote a piece called Three B’s To Focus on Now That You’ve Got Your 501(c)-(3). It was focused on three components nonprofit leaders should concentrate on once they are legally launched. I suggested focusing on building their Brand, Budget and Board. I noted that getting these pieces right create the foundation for thriving nonprofit organizations.
There was a reason I started with Branding as that first B. There might be a few marketing professionals that will take issue with how I’m utilizing the concept of Brand and the activity of Branding here. Nevertheless, for ease of reference (Three B’s are easy to remember) and as a way to capture the big picture, identifying a nonprofit’s Brand stays true to form.
Chances are you’re familiar with some of the more well known nonprofit brands - their logos as well as what they stand for. A bit over two years ago, The Nonprofit Times published Consumers Pick Top Nonprofit Brands. The list included names such as The American Red Cross, ASPCA, Special Olympics and St. Judes Hospital. The survey was driven by asking consumers what they thought of the charity and whether they wanted to interact with it.
Larger and well-established nonprofits tend to have the resources to work with sophisticated marketing agencies that can respond to these questions. And I’m fully aligned with with Dan Pallotta and the Charity Defense Council in their assessment that this is money wisely spent. Nonprofits should commit a portion of their resources to marketing and building brand recognition: it’s critical to their ability to fundraise. Since I tend to work with newer and growing nonprofits, I wanted to offer a few suggestions for developing a nonprofit brand that will create ongoing trust and relationships with the communities they interact with:
Focusing on these three practices might not be as cool and snazzy as a new logo. They will however, help your organization build trust, recognition and support enjoyed by the best.
If you need help or guidance on the above, please reach out at email@example.com or (917)733-8569.
Exercise and fundraising.
What do these activities have in common? At first glance, very little.
But they take on a special meaning for a client of mine named Thea Wood, founder and President of Backstage Chats Foundation, a wonderful organization doing transformative work around music and gender equality. She groups them together as the activities she tackles first thing in the morning before moving on to the work that inspires her, drives her and what she’s most passionate about: amplifying the voices of women in music — both the entertainers as well as the industry itself.
If you’re a leader for a small or a newer organization, taking a regimented approach to your fundraising
efforts (much like daily exercise) can be invaluable.
For example, blocking out an hour of your day for person-to-person fundraising activities can be transformational.
There’s an important distinction here: I’m not talking about fundraising-related activities, i.e. writing grants, managing social media, etc. While these are important activities, they don’t involve the definitive work of development: cultivating relationships and sharing your mission with others. Rather, this hour is dedicated to true one-on-one fundraising work with real people and where you’re speaking as opposed to emailing or texting. To get started:
This is an invaluable practice to start now. The cool thing is that by the time you’re starting to find high-quality prospects, you’ll be getting good, comfortable and articulate. The only difference would be that you may have a shorter transition from the lesser-quality to the higher-quality prospects.
And much like exercise, it gets easier over time.
Give it a try, in just an hour a day!
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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