Have you built out your social media platforms and mailing lists, so you are communicating with hundreds or thousands of people? Do you have hundreds of thousands of followers? A million? If you have been able to grow a strong communication strategy maybe you can use it for the good of others, and not just your own nonprofit.
Do you know people who only talk about themselves? They’re really not fun to be around for too long. A conversation should be open and free flowing, not controlled by one party. And so can it be with our nonprofit communications. We don’t have to talk about “me, me, me” all the time. Yes, the purpose of your communications strategy is to ensure open lines of communication with those you serve, your community, and your donors. But does everything have to be about your nonprofit? Are you the only organization in town that provides services or advocacy? Are you not part of a larger community?
We know the answer to that question: yes, you are part of a larger community. We all are. And we all need each other. One way your nonprofit can extend its service is to share information about other nonprofits, or updates from government agencies. Here’s what we mean: your social media, emails, and newsletters can become a go-to location for important – or fun – information. You can post about upcoming job fairs, promote scholarship opportunities, and let people know where free food and vaccines are available. When it’s super-hot out you can send an email blast about local cooling stations; when it’s freezing cold you can let people know where to find a warming center. You can include links to vital information such as dates for local and national elections with links to voting sites and the dates/times these are open and what the voting requirements are within your community.
These are general ways to use your communications platforms to benefit the community. Other ways are more specific. For example, if you have a lot of people over 65 who read your communications, share news about mini-grants for home repairs: many want to stay in their homes but cannot afford home repairs. If you target young people, provide links to mental health services, job fairs, and free concerts. Here’s something novel to consider: promote other nonprofits that provide services similar to yours. Think of it this way: you can’t serve everyone, so why not let people know about other options they have?
We encourage those who haven’t yet taken the plunge, to use your social media platforms and email lists to share information of value to those you serve and your donors, even if it isn’t about you. You can help extend the reach of smaller organizations who provide vital or specialized services and who may not have the extensive reach that you do. We are all part of a larger community, and that’s a beautiful thing.