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Client Relationship Officer
Many nonprofits will do well bringing new donors in, but drop the ball when it comes to engaging their current supporters. Think of this group as your foundation. When it comes down to it, your relationships with your supporters will make or break your business.
Supporters are your biggest asset as a nonprofit. They attract new donors by sharing your story, and frequently become repeat donors as they grow more involved with your cause.
See your supporters as more than just one-time donors. They cared about your cause enough to provide time, effort, or money to give you the help you need - now it’s up to you to repay that trust.
Don’t let a supporter donate and move on. Their donation is simply one step on a journey that they have started with your organization. Think of that commitment as a launching point that you can use to bring your relationship to the next level.
If you can, track supporters’ involvement from beginning to end, covering as much direct impact as possible. That should always take priority.
What’s the latest happenings related to your cause? What about your nonprofit? Once someone has decided to support you, they’re in for the long-haul. It’s your job to keep them informed about the good and the bad.
At this point, you’re nurturing a relationship. Treat it like a relationship - a friendship. Sharing personal stories and the funny accidents that happen in the office and local site will create the type of trust that makes people stay friends.
Remember, in a relationship, the focus can’t be just on one person or group. You need to be as interested in your supporters’ opinions and thoughts as they are interested in yours. Ask for opinions, thoughts, feedback, and comments when you’re engaging with your subscribers or supporters. You want them to participate in the conversation - you should be interested in their voice.
What do you need? What problems are you facing as a nonprofit? What opportunities are showing up that your supporters could get involved in? Keep the door open to your supporters getting involved, again and again.
You can get people involved with a cause, or a campaign, or a project; but if you want a loyal support base then you need to get them involved with you. People will stay involved because of one thing: your story.
From the start of your relationship with a donor you should have been developing your story. It’s how you motivate someone to make the leap from interested to involved.
When it comes to launching a campaign with your supporters, you need to know that story, and be focused on strengthening and developing it. How does your content further that story? Are you staying consistent? Are you moving forward?
If you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, then you need to rethink how you’re engaging with your supporters, and whether or not you’re creating an identity that people can get behind.
What does a good story look like?
First of all, every story is unique. Depending on your organization’s history and narrative, you might bring some of these elements forward strong, and others only bring in subtly. What we have to offer you are guidelines - not rules. Use these elements to craft your story, but don’t worry about representing them equally.
Great stories are simply told and simply understood. Don’t get too heavy on fancy details or unimportant rabbit trails. Focus on your message and tell it clearly. Nike couldn’t have a simpler story. Their entire brand is distilled down to three words: Just do it. It’s short and sweet and has an impact on a mostly youthful, athletic audience.
While you want your story to be simple, you also want it to have a ‘deeper meaning’. Think about the big concepts - the overarching themes of your story. What actual, impactful messages do you want to send? What do you want your audience to think about after they’ve heard your story? Krochet Kids has tapped into deeper meaning with its focus on individuals, on empowering the people they work with, and creating a strong relationship between their employees and their customers.
Leave some space for the audience’s open interpretation. You can tie this into the ‘deep’ part of your story. In other words, don’t tell your audience what to think. Give them your story and let them decide what you mean. Intel gives their audience some food for thought with its tagline: ‘To make amazing experiences possibly for every person on earth.’ That’s a big promise - and it leaves a lot of room for interpretation. What is an ‘amazing experience’? What doors is Intel unlocking?
The best stories don’t just leave your mind occupied. They also tug at your heartstrings. If you can make your story appeal to your audience’s emotions, you’ve won them over to your cause. GoPro takes videos from its users and tells short, thrilling, sometimes humorous stories that appeal to people’s sense of adventure and curiosity.
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Client Relationship Officer