Promoting yourself and your organization can be done through a number of strategies, venues and styles. By learning the strategies below, you can make decisions that are best for your organization and are tailored for a specific need or event.
1. Share your story
This is the story, not only of your organization and how it came about, but also of those who have been impacted by the existence of your organization. Learning to share your story is crucial.
- Be compelling , engaging and relatable:
- People often want to connect with someone who has experienced something similar to an event that has happened in their own life.
- Other times, people just want to know what has motivated someone to live the way that they do. This may include, "What has led to you form a non-profit organization?"
- By sharing your story, you can provide hope, inspiration, and connection to those who take the time to read or hear about a piece of your journey.
- Provide an account of your story that is clear, honest and transparent. If the story is in written form, ensuring that there are no grammatical errors or confusion will assist the audience in better understanding your view.
- You may want to consider creating a unique value proposition per key audience. For example, if your organization focuses on parents and children, one statement could say, "We have formed this organization because we believe that even children can contribute to fighting global warming." Then for the parents, "We have formed this organization because we believe that fighting global warming is a family activity that should be taught in every home." Depending on who your organization is talking to or what channel you are in, you can adapt messaging appropriately.
- Create avenues to share your story:
- Develop a website
- Capitalize on speaking opportunities
- Collaborate with other similar organizations
- Incorporate your story into core collateral materials
- Use professional networks such as social work, nursing, public health and oncology
- Review suggestions on How to Pitch Stories to the Media
2. Find ways to promote your materials
Developing, maintaining and having a booth presence at events are a necessary strategy to create awareness and educate your community about your organization. Booths are also a great way to build a database of potential donors and volunteers. They also help to increase awareness of your organization within the community. When planning for a booth presence, consider the following:
- Determine what the purpose of having a booth presence at that particular event is. Are you trying to build awareness of your organization? Are you attempting to recruit volunteers? Are you looking for potential donors? Have a call to action when people approach the booth.
- Set up a booth at events that are attended by the same audiences you are trying to reach. Think outside of the box. Events at which you may consider exhibiting could include conferences attended by health professionals who work with cancer survivors, employee health and wellness or benefit fairs, and community events such as festivals.
- Plan in advance. You will often save money and unnecessary stress by planning well in advance. Depending on the type of event you are attending you may need to reserve booth space, order furniture or create specific materials to be distributed.
- Consider investing in a table cloth and signage that include your organizations logo that can be reused at different events. It will make your booth recognizable and more credible.
- Arm your booth representatives with talking points about your organization, its services and ways to get involved. Target the talking points appropriately to the audience in attendance at the conference.
- To help booth visitors remember your organization once they return home, consider distributing collateral materials and giveaway items that are relevant to the conference, its attendees and the messages you aim to communicate.
- While it is important to distribute collateral at your booth, it is not always the quantity that matters. Having quality conversations with several people will go a longer way in making an impact in your community and educating people on what your organization does.
- Bring some sort of giveaway that will draw people to your booth and require people to do something – sign up for your newsletter, complete a survey to provide feedback, take information about your organization – in exchange for that item.
- Collect names, addresses and e-mail addresses of anyone who approaches your booth and have a system of follow up in place. Send them an e-mail thanking them for stopping by or add them to your newsletter distribution (with their permission, of course). Develop a relationship with these people in order to get them more involved with your organization.
3. Develop collateral
To support your organization and get the message out there about the work you are doing, develop collateral and educational pieces. By developing "boilerplate" language, you create a guide on how your documents should appear. You should be able to copy and paste from this template for commonly used text and use in materials or in promotion of your organization. You may find that you need collateral pieces for different reasons. These may include:
- Overview of your organization
- Event promotion
- More detailed description of select programs
- Reports on your successes
- Educational materials related to your services
- Annual reports on your financial status
Remember, any collateral piece is only as good as its accompanying distribution plan. Develop collateral based on a need to share information about your organization through well thought-out distribution channels.
Non-Profit Good Practice: http://www.npgoodpractice.org/concept/Technology%20Assessment%20and%20Planning