We've all heard of Punxsutawney Phil, groundhog extraordinare. But what about Smith Lake Jake, Shubenacadie Sam, Wiarton Willie and the many other local groundhogs vying for attention every February 2nd?
Aren't those little fellas just as cute as Phil? Why should he get all the love?
This battle between Phil and the local groundhogs is like the struggle local nonprofits face. They are competing against larger, more well-known organizations for donors and volunteers.
Take inspiration from Phil's groundhog counterparts.
Put on your networking hat and don't ever take it off. Everywhere you go, official event or not, you should always be on. I don't mean that you should be openly soliciting every person you meet, quite the opposite. Rather take note (either mentally or in an actual spreadsheet) of the people you meet, where they work, what organizations they are involved in, etc. When you see opportunities that might interest them or an organization that they are involved with, shoot them an email, tweet them or send them a Facebook message, whatever medium you are most comfortable using.
Things to remember:
One advantage local nonprofits have over larger organizations is that they are making a difference in their donors' backyards. Highlight that!People want to know that their dollars are making a difference. What better way to let them know than by giving them tangible proof, in their community. You do not have to be changing the world, just someone's world.
A few ideas to show donors how you're making a difference:
Social media is a free way to target supporters. Start small. Find the platform that is best for who you want to target. Evaluate your time before jumping in. If you only have time for one platform, then start with one. Its better to have one great profile than 3 half assed ones.
This may seem extremely obvious, but I cannot tell you the number of local nonprofits who have yet to jump on the social media bandwagon because they see it as a waste of time. Not sure where to start?
Here's a few articles:
If you work at a nonprofit or sit on a board, you are the living embodiment for the organization. Good nonprofits understand this. Great ones embrace it. They encourage their staff and board members to join local professional organizations. These organizations are a great place to not only meet new volunteers and donors but to spread the word about your organization to community members who may be unaware of your organization.
Some organizations to consider:
Accept that you aren't going to ever have as many resources as national organizations. So don't try to act like them. Be yourself. Its what you're best at anyway.
What are your suggestions for local nonprofits to promote their events? Do you work at a nonprofit? What has or hasn't worked for your organization?
Read more of my blog posts here.