Have you ever heard someone connected to your organization say, “We do so many great things but so few people know about us.”? As a leader, this should be a major red flag and not passed over lightly.
There is a reason why you started your organization, why you answered the call God placed on your heart to serve those around you. Programs and ministries coalesce around meeting needs and taking care of others. Your organization naturally attracts staff and volunteers aligned with your mission and most are aligned toward action, not promotion.
Yet it is crucial to have people in your camp who are heralds of your work and results. What good is it to offer wonderful programs if most people have never heard of you or know little of what you do? When people try to explain who you are and what you do, how effective are they with conveying your message? Are your supporters so excited about your work that they create birthday fundraisers for your organization? How are you going to change lives if people don’t know you exist or have no clear idea of what you do?
Effective, life-changing non-profits focus not just on great programs and services but also on systematic, ongoing, unrelenting promotion. In our digital age, there are so many ways to get your stories out to the wider world. Do you have a strategy for growing awareness of your work through social media? Is your direct mail communication consistent and timely? There are many powerful tools just waiting to be used to grow your supporter base, which you can then cultivate into donors.
Successful non-profits don’t look at what they do as an EITHER/OR proposition, but rather BOTH/AND. It is not, “we EITHER have great programs OR we are great promoters.” It is, “we must have BOTH great programs AND we must tirelessly tell others about what we do.”
Look at the list below of BOTH/AND non-profits. Each of these organizations have large followings on social media platforms with constant, brand-consistent, compelling storytelling.
- Wounded Warrior Project – 3.2 million on Facebook
- American Cancer Society – 1.1 million on Facebook
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – 2.5 million on Facebook
- AARP – 2 million on Facebook
- PBS – 3.8 million on Facebook
What came to mind when you saw the names on this list? Do you have a good idea of what each of these groups do?
One brilliant example of this BOTH/AND approach is the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. On the program side, since its inception, it has invested more than $2.9 billion for breast cancer research in more than 60 countries. It has shaped the entire cultural dialogue for not just breast cancer, but for nearly every other cancer as well. They not only focus on the difficult aspects of cancer, but also uplift, encourage, and bring hope to many. Susan G. Komen’s foundation shines a spotlight on the need for awareness, prevention, and treatment with the result of millions of saved lives.
On the promotional side, it invented the cancer awareness movement and its promotion. Not convinced? What color immediately comes to mind when you think of Breast Cancer? Finally, you know you are marketing royalty when you are a women’s advocacy group and you have 300-pound linemen playing football in pink shoes on national TV!
Quit being the “world’s best-kept secret” and commit today to being BOTH/AND in 2020.
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