Over the last week I’ve sat down with six local nonprofit leaders who all face similar challenges. The simple reality is that almost every nonprofit here in Memphis and around our nation struggles with the same three things:
1) Raising awareness for their organization
2) Raising the necessary funds to fulfill their mission
3) Engaging enough volunteers and board members to help physically power their efforts.
Given this is such an important topic and one I’m discussing often, let’s take the next few weeks to explore tips that nonprofit professionals and volunteers can use to increase awareness, funding, and physical engagement.
First, understand that raising awareness is an everyday adventure and the only one you can consistently rely on is yourself and your team. Broadcast media will cover large public events or storylines that can be covered with a picture and short caption or a few sound bites and b-roll video, but they rarely have the time to follow a story for a long period of time or to do a deep dive and capture the growth or impact of your organization. Also, rarely will they discuss how people can get involved with your cause. So, take matters into your own hands!
You can use your iPhone or for about $500 get a camera (we use the Canon Rebel T6i) that will take high quality, high resolution pictures and video. Pictures and short videos (three minutes or less) will be your ticket to success because the average attention span of a human, thanks to our smartphones, is now only eight seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish (nine seconds). It’s also important to know that our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text. So, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your website, make sure to post something visual each day that ties to your mission. It can be pictures of your team in action, volunteers giving back, people you serve smiling, your building on a beautiful day, etc. At the same time, capture video and interviews for testimonials that you can use and share online. Anytime you have volunteers, make sure to get their social media handles, so you can tag them in the pictures and they can then share them with their friends and followers. With so many free and inexpensive apps and software, it’s easier than ever before to edit video, touch up pictures, and ultimately take total control of your nonprofit’s branding. The first step, though, is to take control!