Your nonprofit organization relies on community engagement. Think about it. How far would your charity get if no one knew it existed? Taken a step further, how much impact would your charity have if it had no communications mechanism to raise money.
That’s the kicker. So many nonprofits get this part wrong. Of course, it’s important for organizations to advertise the availability and benefits of their programs and services. But without the funding to provide those initiatives in the first place, your nonprofit is quite literally dead in the water.
At Grand River Agency, we understand that the key to expanding the impact of your nonprofit lies in engaging a community of support through strong digital marketing and public relations. It takes a village. Your supporters are not just helpers. They are your greatest assets, capable of broadening your audience and magnifying your influence.
Unleashing the Power of Nonprofit Community Engagement
Let’s delve into these effective nonprofit community engagement tips to captivate and mobilize your target audience!
1. Cultivate an Online Community
We begin, quite naturally, with our area of expertise: professional communications. Where do vital communications take place in the 21st century? That’s right, the digital realm!
Nonprofits must cultivate an online community of support while nurturing an ongoing dialog. That’s where you can express important info and thoughts like:
- Success stories
- Community need & overcoming adversity
- Data & statistics
- Client testimonials
- & More
Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Linkedin and even TikTok to create groups where supporters can connect and bond around your mission. Did you know email marketing is still a valuable tool to disseminate crucial information among followers who’ve already engaged with your nonprofit brand.
Charitable organizations are notoriously bad at wooing repeat donors. According to our good friend and nonprofit fundraising guru Joanne Oppelt, the average donor retention rate is around 24%. So keep those who have given before engaged by crafting inspiring newsletters featuring updates, personalized stories and upcoming events.
Encourage community members to subscribe to your newsletter, ensuring they never miss an important announcement. Remember, personalized and visually appealing emails lead to better open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates – in addition to leaving a lasting impression.
2. Build a Volunteer Program
A great nonprofit community engagement plan asks people to “get their hands dirty,” so to speak. What better way to get people excited about your nonprofit mission than to have them participate and witness the impact first-hand?
Launch a volunteer program to establish a personal connection between your community and your mission. People value the opportunity to contribute their time and skills, fostering a sense of personal investment. Volunteers become ambassadors, spreading information about your nonprofit among their friends and family.
Ambassadors, in turn, can increase their involvement by becoming regular donors or even serving on your Board of Directors.
3. Host Community Events
We’re hesitant to bring community events into this, but they do have their merit. Contemporary thinking ditches the annual fundraising gala – typically a VERY LOW ROI fundraising activity that quite often LOSES money on overhead. But community events ARE terrific for building nonprofit community engagement and promoting mission.
Bring your community together through events tailored to your nonprofit’s unique identity. Whether it’s fundraisers, networking events, or volunteer appreciation gatherings, creativity is key. Think outside the box to make your events memorable, impactful and, most importantly, enjoyable for the community.
4. Tap the Power of Local Media
Earned media still holds immense power. Even a press release in the local media can add loads of credibility to your nonprofit mission. All the better if that press release turns into a feature story or segment on the 5 o’clock news.
Local newspapers, radio stations, and community websites provide direct communication channels to reach people in your area. Engage your community through these strategies:
- Develop Compelling Stories: Share narratives, success stories, and experiences that show local and regional audiences how your nonprofit is helping their friends and neighbors.
- Establish Media Relationships: Build rapport with local journalists, reporters, and editors. Invite them to events, allowing them to connect personally with your mission.
- Craft Engaging Press Releases: Share milestones, events or noteworthy updates. Ensure your press releases are concise, interesting, and contain quotes and facts.
- Pitch Stories: Identify topics aligned with community interests while showcasing your nonprofit’s values. Make your pitches compelling and highlight the story’s relevance.
- Seize Media Opportunities: Take advantage of interviews or guest appearances on local radio and shows. Discuss crucial issues, promote upcoming events, and emphasize the importance of your nonprofit.
Is Your Nonprofit Ready to Engage the Community Effectively?
Nonprofit community engagement is not just about spreading the word, but more importantly, creating a loyal community that believes in your mission. Take your time to nurture these relationships, ensuring your supporters feel the reciprocated love.
Utilize these tips from Grand River Agency to rally your community, turning supporters into advocates and financial supporters for your cause! If you need help building a nonprofit communications strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation.
President and Founder, Grand River Agency
With over 17 years of diverse experience in print journalism, digital media marketing, and nonprofit administration, Kelsey Boudin founded Grand River Agency (formerly Southern Tier Communications Strategies) in 2020. The agency specializes in offering contract-based strategic communications, content marketing, grant proposals, website design, and public relations services to small businesses and nonprofits. Kelsey’s career spans roles as an editor, content creator, and grant writer, reflecting his expertise in leading successful digital marketing campaigns, securing funding, and executing various projects.