Are you really working to get out the right messages about your nonprofit?
When it comes to communicating through storytelling, nonprofit organizations have a huge advantage over corporations and businesses. They WISH they had the stories you have. However, what they do have at their disposal in most cases in a bigger budget and more resources. However, the best storytelling does not necessarily involve the biggest budget. How can nonprofits overcome their obstacles and take advantage of what they have that corporations don’t have? By making marketing/communications an essential part of your organization’s daily tasks. Marketing is crucial to your organization’s mission, not an extra thing that you have to do when everything else is already done. By approaching marketing communications as an integral part of reaching your mission, you can literally use marketing as a way to increase the capacity of your organization. If your marketing activities are not doing this, than you need to completely rethink what you are doing to get out your organization’s story.
What are the biggest mistakes nonprofits make when trying to tell their organizations’ stories?
Mistake #1: Nonprofits look at their organizations from their point of view rather than the view of the audience.
- They look at their organizations from their point of view rather than the view of the audience.
- They don’t get their story straight.
- They tell the wrong story to the wrong audience.
- They don’t answer the question, “SO WHAT?"
Nonprofit professionals tend look at their organizations from their point of view rather than the view of the audience(s) to which they are trying to connect. (You do not want to just “reach” your audience – you want to connect with them.)
Mistake #2: Nonprofits don’t get their story straight.
If someone came to your organization, talked with 10 people separately (the executive director, staff, volunteers and board members), and asked the question, “What does your organization do and why should I care?” – would all of the answers be the same? Or, at least be close to the same?
A key part of messaging and storytelling is making sure that it is not just the marketing department (or person, of half-time person) who is invested in it.
MISTAKE #3: Nonprofits tell the wrong story to the wrong audience.
Just as you have different programs and services, you have different audiences you are trying to reach. Communication is much more effective when you are speaking directly to a specific audience.
Find your audiences… break down whom you are trying to connect with. Each of them will connect with your organization in a different way. However, keep it consistent – use similar language and be consistent with your organization’s brand.
MISTAKE #4: They don’t answer the question, “SO WHAT?”
You are deeply committed to your organization’s mission.
You develop best practices in the field, employ clinical professional, and you measure results.
You spend hours and hours in long-range strategic planning meetings.
The truth is, the average person you are trying to reach does not care about any of this.
What they need to know is how the work you are doing is connected to them. They don’t even know this is what they need to know… they are not yet engaged. Your job is to reach out and connect with them in a way that empowers them to care. Storytelling is definitely a way to do this.
With these great guidelines, you can shift your organization's messaging mindset and help further your mission.
Source: This entry was posted on 11/8/2007 11:38 AM and is filed under PR Food for Thought,Research and Best Practices,The Art of Storytelling. Visit http://nonprofitpr.com/2007/11/08/are-you-really-working-to-get-out-the-right-messages-about-your-nonprofit.aspx
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