I posted an adorable picture of my daughter on Facebook last week that got lots of comments, likes and dopamine inducing things the algorithm wanted me to feel that day.
Boy did I think I was awesome.
I posted a very interesting and thought provoking article about fundraising with a ton of data and important lessons on philanthropy that got zero comments, 2 likes and a depressing feeling like no one wants to hear from me ever again and I should just crawl in a hole and quit my job and stop talking because the algorithm wanted more adorable pictures of my daughter instead.
Boy did I think I was the worst and dumbest.
Bet you’ve never experienced these highs and lows at your nonprofit, have you?
Yeah. You probably have.
The feeling that no one is paying attention to your mission can create a cartoonish sad trombone sound that penetrates your soul, and can quite easily put you and your visions of grandeur for your organization on a dusty old shelf. You know, the kind of shelf with all the trinkets that you were forced to take prior to your grandmas estate sale that you really didn’t want, but your mom totally guilted you into taking because “memories” and “we can’t throw them” are apparently code for “you don’t love me if you don’t horde these like all your relatives do.”
Anywho, that kind of lack of engagement can really put a damper on the momentum and awesomeness you are trying to create surrounding your impact in the community.
So how do you stay positive about what you write, record, create and speak about when it feels like no one cares?
Concentrate on staying true to your brand.
And yes, your nonprofit’s brand is important.
So important in fact, that we hosted a webinar this week that talked ALL ABOUT it! Didn’t get to see watch it? No worries! CLICK HERE FOR THE REPLAY!
We talked a lot about logos, and your organization’s personality, and the way things flow….
But most of all, the conclusion is this:
Your organization might be a slow burn to supporters and donors.
“Slow burn, Patrick? What the hell does that mean?”
Great question – and I realize that you’re probably looking for a quick fix, immediate attraction at first glance, or creating things that makes those who see your content (if we’re really into relationship-esque explanations here) go from first date to marriage right away.
Avoid the temptation of immediate gratification. Take your time.
Your slow burn sneaks up on individuals that expect, anticipate and find themselves looking forward to your stories and community wins that ultimately make them fall in love with your nonprofit.
Still not convinced? Let me remind you of a few things that might help put to rest your thoughts that no one likes or cares about your content.
‘Cause they do!
1. People are Reading & Watching
In the immortal words of Dr. Dre, off his smash hit Nuthin But A G Thang:
“Well I'm peepin', and I'm creepin', and I'm creep-in.”
That’s right. Folks in your community, supporters and even donors are sometimes – nay, most of the time – creepin’ on your content and not engaging.
Whether their attention span is too short to press a “like” button or not, they are watching and reading and enjoying your organization.
How do you know? Well, during a random conversation with them, occasionally they will legit mention something about a social media post or media mention and you will think to yourself, “But Deb – you didn’t even LIKE that post! Why didn’t you like that post!?”
It really doesn’t matter. Likes are simply vanity metrics and have nothing to do with how your superfans, who are your most important stakeholders, think about you and how they can support your mission.
Know they are paying attention. And they like you. And your influence on them is important.
2. Your Brand in Incredibly Important
Know what else is important? Your brand.
And not just your logo. Or website. Or that tri-fold brochure that you spent way too much time on editing to make perfect and by the time you finally printed 700 of them to put out on a table at that community event, and now it has information on it that is old, so now you have to have another meeting to plan what other updated material is on it. UGH.
Though important, the wholistic approach to how people view your organization is more critical now than it ever has been. Trust of institutions across the globe is fragile. And individuals are looking for comfort and consistency and feeling as if they can count on groups and organizations more than ever.
That means, what you say on stage and how you communicate with your supporters needs to match with the vibe your mission, vision and values of your nonprofit. No longer can you casually not pay attention to how the community interprets what you do. No longer can you afford to assume that everyone knows what happens if your funding runs out or are forced to shut your doors.
Your brand has to be proactive, and positive, and personal.
You can accomplish that by simply connecting with those who know you well AND not at all, to ask their opinions, perspectives and interpretations in order to align better with what the public is interested in funding.
Will that take a bit of work to pick up the phone and actually MEET with folks? Sure will. But to stand out in the crowd and be a beacon of hope for those you serve will take more than just passively waiting for feedback on how the community thinks of you and your nonprofit.
3. Play the Long Game
This. Takes. Time.
Your organization will not go viral. And hoping that you do is not a plan worth pursuing.
You can however, take the road longer traveled, and trust the process of consistent communication and creation of stories that tell those you want to have on board eventually that you are here for the long haul.
Trust takes time. And trust is what you should be after.
Your donors should trust that you are using funds to solve a problem or social ill in your community. They understand that doesn’t happen immediately.
And though they want updates on progress, interesting impact stories and honesty when it comes to challenges you are facing, they want to see consistency more than immediacy.
I know as well as anyone else, that board members, executive directors and organizational leaders are sometimes impatient with fundraising numbers coming in fast and furious. But your solutions don’t happen overnight, and neither should the expectations of attracting exponential followers and major donors.
But in time…with a patient and consistent messaging, meeting and marketing approach: You’re gonna be just fine.
Curious on how you can create your own communication plan? Well then find us on the road during our 2022 Do Gooders Conference Midwest Tour! It will be one of the many topics we cover…and help you WORK ON during this hyper-caffeinated and get-stuff-done event we’re brining to a town near you!