Fundraising is essential to the livelihood of any not-for-profit organization – especially in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. While fundraising is top of mind for most not-for-profits, another essential activity is often put on the back burner: Public Relations. But don’t throw it away just yet, because a strategic PR push goes hand-in-hand with a successful fundraising campaign.
In this article, we will discuss three tactics not-for-profit organizations should incorporate into their next fundraising effort.
1. Build strong brand messages
A not-for-profit organization should have a core set of brand messages that describe its mission and the value it brings to its community and stakeholders. These messages answer the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why” – and help the organization make a compelling case to prospective donors.
A not-for-profit can emphasize the urgency of its mission by tying these messages to pressing societal issues. For example, a food pantry can highlight why its work is more vital during this time of high unemployment. Brand messages should also make clear how donations will help advance the organization’s mission.
2. Embrace a variety of channels
Most not-for-profit organizations have a range of channels at their disposal to help disseminate their messages. These channels include social media platforms, email lists, websites, marketing collateral and even in-person events (when the pandemic subsides).
An organization will reach different audiences through each of these channels. For example, if an organization is trying to reach younger donors, it should use social channels that reach a young demographic, such as Instagram and TikTok. Older audiences may be easier to reach via email or Facebook. In most cases, a nonprofit can tailor a single message across a range of channels by tweaking imagery and copy to amplify the message on each channel.
3. Reach new audiences
While it is important to communicate to the people who already receive your emails and follow you on social media, chances are these people are already donating to the organization. To raise funds quickly, not-for-profits need to reach new potential donors.
One of the easiest ways to reach a new audience is to utilize “superfans” – the employees, volunteers, members and donors who already believe in the organization’s mission. Not-for-profits should arm these superfans with materials, such as sharable images and pithy copy, they can use to reach out to their networks.
Another way to reach additional prospective donors is to seek media coverage. Coverage of an organization’s mission in a respected media outlet helps not only spread the organization’s messages but also provides an implied third-party endorsement from a trusted source. Media coverage of an event or creative campaign can boost fundraising.
Lastly, not-for-profits that have a strong social media presence should consider “boosting” their owned content to reach new audiences. An organization can pay to put its content in front of audiences that are not currently following its page. The organization can target audiences by age, gender, location, interests and more with this type of social media advertising.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to fundraising, both quantity and quality are important components of an organization’s communication strategy. Not-for-profit organizations should start by crafting powerful brand messaging. Then, strategically share those messages across a range of channels to connect with past and existing donors and recruit new donors. By prioritizing PR in fundraising efforts, not-for-profit organizations will inspire donors new and old to support their missions.
If you have additional questions about strategic and creative public relations strategies for your not-for-profit organization, reach out to our team today.