Lately there has been a continuous theme developing for me with Not for Profit organizations needing help or advice which may turn into a book one day. After 40 + years in media and having participated on numerous non profit boards and committees it seems time to share some of my learning’s with the hope that non profit agencies and organizations around the world may benefit.
Every one of them is challenged with good communication, internally as well as externally. Working with Not for Profit’s over the years has given me an excellent opportunity to observe how the best ones are run as well as how they communicate and promote their work in their various communities. Unfortunately, some organizations struggle searching for leadership, a marketing strategy and the people or volunteers to breathe life into their organization.
There are also a few who unfortunately hide from the media and only use it for crisis management when there is a problem and some through no fault of their own, just don’t know how to find their “voice” or what to do.
Ever wonder why you often hear about one organization more than another? More about “CIBC’s Run for the Cure” or other signature fundraising events than others? We know that the top diseases in the world get a lot of continuous support but even small groups with big ideas can compete for our ears, eyes and hearts.
In the foreseeable future, the following pages on my “blog” will be devoted to help those looking for a simple way to understand how media works and how to promote and market the good work their/your organization is doing.
It may take time for us to hear and see more campaigns that deal with sex trafficking, domestic abuse, female circumcision in third world countries, civil rights for the LGBT community, poverty, homelessness and many other not so “attractive” issues but I will go looking for them or with your help, perhaps help create some memorable campaigns! I am encouraged to see President Obama include LGBT in his inaugural address as well as award the founder of PFLAG a humanitarian award. It’s a start!
Clearly the more mainstream or “vanilla” the easier it is to get media exposure. The more uncomfortable, controversial or “charged” no matter how important it may be, the more difficult.
Where traditional media may be full, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites offer everything imaginable. Some causes seem nonexistent and obscure where others readily go viral around the world due to the message and how it resonates with us. I’d frankly suggest spending more time in this area than applying for grants!
An extremely “creative” campaign can make a world of difference in touching our hearts and getting your message across. Cutting through the “clutter” is a universal challenge which is why creative and the amount of times or “frequency” we see or hear your message are so important.
Simple and heartfelt is an excellent place to start in a world full of clever sell lines and slick marketing.
A better place to start is at the beginning with some simple questions – What do you really stand for? And, what do you want to be remembered for? Have you asked anybody lately if they share your views about your organization? After all, perception is reality!
If you want to remain top of mind and in the hearts of your community, be clear about those core messages and don’t let them forget about you.
Assuming you have a well thought out campaign and a compelling message tell them what you are going to do, do it and tell them what you did. In other words while promoting your campaign or event, do it as best you can and then make sure you make everyone feel good about the work they did to help make it successful.
I hope you will pass this on to your friends devoting their time and effort to their favorite causes. We need their hearts and passion to help make a difference!