9 Steps to Empower Staff and Volunteers to Tell Your Story
Be sure to empower your staff and volunteers — especially board members and other fundraising volunteers — to tell your story.
Involving them in sharing the great news about your cause and its impact will turn your organization from being "the best kept secret in town" into one that is widely known and supported.
Your organization's greatest assets — its volunteers and staff — interact with an incredible number of people each day. Are they sharing their passion about working with your cause? Social-media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and beyond can multiply their reach to potential new donors and volunteers. What are they saying on social media about you?
When someone closely tied to your organization isn't talking about you, what does that say to those in his or her sphere of influence?
Here are nine steps to leverage the power of your volunteers — especially your leadership — in telling your story:
- Create a clear, relevant mission statement that speaks to what you do. Teach your leaders how to articulate your mission, both in person and in writing.
- Consider a tagline. This is not your mission statement, but a memorable slogan that summarizes who you are and can engage your audience.
- Provide volunteers and staff key messages to share. Position it this way: "If there is just two or three things we want everyone to know about our organization, they are ..."
- Supply a few important statistics and stories that bring your mission to life. These stories are even more powerful when they are firsthand stories.
- Ask for feedback from volunteers and staff on what is working and what isn't, and how you can effectively make them ambassadors for your organization.
- Conduct an orientation to help your ambassadors feel more comfortable naturally sharing information about your organization in their everyday conversations. Repeat this training annually.
- Provide leaders with messages to post strategically on social media. Don't overdo this, but leverage a few times a year.
- Share messaging and stories at every staff, board, campaign and committee meeting. You will be creating an opportunity for even novice communicators to share: "I was just at nonprofit for a meeting, and you won't believe what I heard ..."
- Personally and publicly applaud your staff and volunteers for sharing your mission in an effective way. They will be encouraged to tell your organization's story more often, which will enhance your communications culture.
When you arm your staff and volunteers to share your story with their friends, you are leveraging the trusting relationships they already have formed with others. By empowering your staff and volunteers to tell your story, you can connect with donors and prospective donors in a powerful and efficient way.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.