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Developing a seamless nonprofit communications strategy

By: Kaz Weida

An effective communications strategy is crucial for any business, but it’s especially important for nonprofit organizations. There are a lot of worthy charities, advocacy groups, and community projects competing for attention and dollars. 

In the U.S., there are approximately 1.5 million nonprofit organizations that include social advocacy groups, private charitable foundations, and even civic leagues and corporate giving programs. The nonprofit sector is also the third-largest employer in the United States, with healthcare-related nonprofits making up a clear majority of the organizations across the country.

These nonprofits all rely heavily on a donor or client base to fundraise and generate revenue to help their organization grow. Here are a few tips for developing a nonprofit communications plan that can help your organization stay mission-focused and thriving for decades to come.

Tips for developing a seamless nonprofit communication strategy

Clearly articulate a compelling brand story 

Thriving nonprofits know that the secret sauce of success is that every stakeholder, donor, volunteer, and board member is a brand ambassador. The more people who are passionate about what you do, the more power you’ll have to raise awareness and fundraise. 

And the key to creating vocal brand ambassadors is to have a compelling nonprofit brand story and to cultivate people who are good at telling it. Everyone involved in your organization should be able to clearly articulate your mission, how you work to achieve it, and what others can do to help. But it’s also worthwhile to boost your best brand storytellers into positions (and platforms) where they can connect with a wider audience.

Simplify your messaging

Volunteers and activists are often very knowledgeable and passionate about the issue they’re advocating for. In truth, you wouldn’t want it any other way! But all that enthusiasm means strategic communications for nonprofits can suffer from information overload and muddled messaging. 

Take a close look at your nonprofit organization’s website and social media profiles and ask yourself one question: Could a stranger identify what you do and why it’s important in 60 seconds or less? If not, your nonprofit communications plan needs to focus on simplifying and streamlining your messaging across platforms, including email communications.

Develop a nonprofit communications plan playbook

Getting everyone within your organization on the same page can be challenging. That’s where creating a nonprofit communications plan playbook comes in. Think of this as your nonprofit brand style guide. 

While it can identify logos and colors and fonts, it should also articulate your brand story and demonstrate how to produce consistent, clear messaging for potential donors, volunteers, and the general public. Lucidpress has branding templates that can help nonprofits produce this kind of personalized, scalable digital content.

Recruit social media brand ambassadors

Effective nonprofit communications strategy is all about relationships. In a way, nonprofits are in the business of recruiting advocates and activists, so every connection matters in terms of the impact your organization can make. 

It’s especially important to recruit advocates among influencers with popular social media platforms who can amplify your mission and support fundraising efforts. Make sure you can clearly articulate to brand ambassadors the value you bring to their brand and how you can partner to create something meaningful. Depending on the realm in which your nonprofit works, you should also consider micro-influencers with niche followings that are better aligned with your goals.

Effective strategic communications for nonprofits is about engaging donors

At the end of the day, creating a thriving nonprofit means having engaged donors and volunteers who regularly support your mission with time, attention, and money. Nonprofit marketing that produces real-world engagement doesn’t happen accidentally. 

It’s the product of an effective nonprofit communication strategy that understands who your audience is and what they want to hear. In the same way businesses create customer personas to drive conversion, developing several donor personas can be helpful to target your fundraising messaging. Consider including the following characteristics as part of your donor personas.

  • Basic demographics like age and gender

  • Location

  • Financial status

  • Technological skills

  • Other causes they support

Last but not least, make donation history a component of donor personas. Nonprofits often rely on pools of repeat donors that can be counted on to provide financial resources consistently. Make sure you’ve got email and mailing lists that align with donor personas so you can fall back on those most likely to help in a pinch.

These tips for developing an effective nonprofit communications strategy should help your organization turn what you’re passionate about into high-quality, consistent messaging that converts donors into brand ambassadors.

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How to amplify your mission

Messaging matters (a lot)! How you market your brand in the crowded nonprofit space makes all the difference in accomplishing your goals. Consistent messaging and strategic partnerships will help you stand out from the rest. Our guide can help you craft the right messaging to amplify your mission and make an impact in your community.

Learn more

Kaz Weida

Kaz Weida is a freelance journalist and photographer who is passionate about crafting content that helps entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes tackle challenges. When not at her keyboard, Kaz can be found in the kitchen indulging in a little craft cocktail inspiration.

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