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#public relations

How to Elevate Nonprofit Communications

By Daniella Alkobi

Nonprofits have the power to change lives – however, they may not be utilizing their communications channels to their full potential. By sharing compelling stories across platforms and building relationships with key stakeholders, organizations can drive positive change in their communities and beyond.

Read further for best practices in connecting with your audiences.

Define approach.

Beyond setting goals, it is important for nonprofits to develop a strategic communications plan – whether it’s done quarterly, biannually or annually, depending on the organization. Of course, the strategy may shift over time but having a roadmap of communication goals, target audiences, key events or milestones and PR tactics keeps things organized so you can plan accordingly. Review the plan at the top of each month to ensure that you’re staying on track.  

Share stories.

Storytelling is one of the most important components of any nonprofit’s communications strategy. Not only do these feature stories pull on audiences’ heartstrings, but they also help build trust by showcasing how the organization is making a difference. Powerful stories can motivate others to get involved, from donations and event registrations to volunteering initiatives.

Throughout the year, develop authentic narratives about standout individuals and programs in your organization that are making a difference. Reach out to journalists who cover stories about positive change—these media placements help serve as testimonials, enhancing the organization’s credibility and showcasing its impact. Repurpose these stories for owned media channels including website content, newsletters, social media and more.

Build dialogue with donors.  

Successful nonprofits are in regular communication with their donors. Considering that some donors may contribute to other organizations simultaneously, be sure to show them how much you appreciate their support. Send a thank you email after they donate (no matter the amount) and meet with key donors in person to deepen your relationship. In addition to discussing organizational updates and progress, make an effort to learn about their interests. Don’t forget to ask donors for feedback about events or communication preferences because their opinions truly matter.

Be active on social media.

Although some communications channels are more effective than others, social media is only growing. Nonprofits can take advantage of these platforms to promote events, collaborate with partners, highlight programs and share evergreen content. If your budget allows, consider working with a digital agency that can embrace your mission, create meaningful content and help grow your channels. You can also engage with audiences through community management, user-generated content, interactive stories, etc. Meanwhile, use content calendars to streamline the drafting process and alleviate back-and-forth between team members.

Cultivate strategic partnerships.

Many nonprofits serve as pillars in the community, providing people with the resources they need to thrive in a everchanging world. Research other nonprofits in your area that align with your values. Many nonprofits collaborate on events whether it be a 5K or a food drive. By working together, you can spread the word beyond your audience to even more people and achieve impressive results.

Corporate partnerships are another way to expand your network and engage with stakeholders. For example, a Board member and their company may want to start an employee matching program or mentor youth. Such partnerships can turn into mutually beneficial relationships that help raise awareness for a nonprofit cause and strengthen businesses’ ESG efforts.

Without proper external communication, nonprofit organizations may struggle to survive. If you’re looking to refresh your strategy, reach out to a PR firm for their expertise.

Everything starts with a conversation.

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