Raising your nonprofit’s public profile will help enhance and strengthen your programs, garner exposure towards your cause, and attract more donors. A strong communications plan that allows you to market your organization as an authority on events and current issues and one that utilizes new media and social networking sites will increase your public profile in 2009.
Implement a strong communications plan
Whether you have internal public relations staff or an external firm, like The T.A.S.C. Group, your charity will need to have a long range communications strategy embedded into your business plan. When developing your communications plan, your organization should focus on the brand that you want to project to the public. Once you have established a clear and concise identity you can build a unified message in with your communication tools, including your website, marketing materials, stationary, and e-mail signatures that will reinforce your brand recognition.
Insert your organization into current issues
Depending on what your cause is, you can insert your organization into current issues to help raise awareness about the significance of your work. For example, if your organization serves as a soup kitchen, helps the homeless or provides job training, you can strategize and tailor your mission to make it more relevant to the current economic environment. However, even with newsworthy operations, you will still need to have a robust and daily public relations strategy to raise your profile. Your communications team should be in constant contact with the media and work to build long term relationships, which can bear fruit for many years to come. Additionally, you will want your leaders to be out promoting your cause and talking to local newspapers, national newspapers, and cable news stations as a representative of your organization. You could even ask your local newspaper, if they would be interested in having the president of your organization write a regular blog on your field of expertise.
Use social media to your advantage
Social networking websites like Facebook, Think.MTV.com, MySpace and Twitter are quickly becoming one of the best ways to reach your community. New media proves to be beneficial in spreading news about your organization and volunteer opportunities by creating groups on the sites. Facebook has an application that is specifically geared towards causes and lets people donate to your charity. If your organization films or documents your various projects, you can also use YouTube and embed those videos in other sites. Just remember to establish a communication metrics system by keeping track of your website traffic from month to month to see quantitative improvements. Best of all these sites are free and their use is growing rapidly.
Originally Posted: January 9, 2009 on NJ.com