Getting a nonprofit organization up and running is an immense challenge. There’s paperwork to navigate, the task of establishing fundraising practices, events to plan, staff to hire, volunteers to recruit. Gaining attention in the community and building a solid base of supporters is a huge challenge. It’s a daunting undertaking, and people tackle it with remarkable enthusiasm every day.
When a client asked the Qgiv staff for ways nonprofits can gain community support, we were excited and daunted by the task. Raising community awareness for a nonprofit organization is a hard topic, mostly because every nonprofit and every community is unique. There’s no one-size-fits all method to spreading the word and no magic bullet for attracting supporters, but we can offer a few general pointers. The neat thing about getting attention in your community is that, even if you use these pointers as a reference, your experience will be totally unique to your organization.
Some good basic ideas for building community support in your nonprofit include:
If you’re building a nonprofit organization, you’re undoubtedly already doing this. Building relationships with people involved with other nonprofits is a valuable way to learn the tricks of the trade, keep up on fundraising trends, and keep a finger on the proverbial pulse of the nonprofit world. Seasoned nonprofit professionals in your area can help give you specific advice for how to connect with your community in particular. Don’t limit yourself, though — build contacts in the for-profit world, too! Connecting with businesses and local government by joining your city’s Chamber of Commerce or similar organizations is a great way to meet people who are active investors in your community.
2. Getting Involved
Most cities have different community events that can be a platform to talk to other people about your cause. Try setting up a table or booth at events like farmer’s markets, fairs, intramural sports games, and other community celebrations. There’s plenty of room for imagination here; there are some neat possibilities available in different areas. To spread the word even more effectively, try matching the event you attend to your nonprofit’s mission. Sports-based organizations could set up a table at a baseball game, for example, or a charity aimed at alleviating hunger could creatively raise awareness at a food truck rally or similar event.
3. Recruiting Your Board
If you’ve built your board carefully, you’ve got an amazing head start on building widespread awareness about your charity. One of the primary jobs of your board should be to build a presence for your nonprofit in your community. Make sure your board members are prepared to serve as ambassadors for your nonprofit, and give them free reign to talk to business contacts, churches, friends, and family about your organization.
There’s no one-size-fits all solution for building awareness and support for your nonprofit. Take advantage of your area’s unique culture, public figures, and community to build a creative plan for your charity!