Your CEO Should Build Your Nonprofit Community
Community is “actionable,” Katrina VanHuss, chair and founder of Turnkey, said. It gets people to do crazy things like VanHuss signing up for Jujitsu and Courtney Bugler, president and CEO of Zero Prostate Cancer, joining the ballroom dance community, the pair shared in the NonProfit POWER session, “Why the CEO Is the Only One Who Can Build Your Nonprofit Community.”
However, VanHuss and Bugler warned, it doesn’t happen overnight.
The session touched on the psychology and operating system of community, stories of failures and successes from VanHuss and Bugler themselves, and most importantly why CEOs are the only people who can truly build a nonprofit’s sense of community.
VanHuss joked that "community" is a terrible word because it is ill-defined, but until nonprofits can come up with a better one, it's what we're stuck with for now.
"The psychologist's definition of community includes two things: It's people who share an idea like a mission, and the tricky part is that it's also people who can talk to each other and communicate with each other," VanHuss said.
And while sharing a common goal can bring donors together, it's not necessarily enough. There needs to be a push to get these donors to befriend one another. Bugler explained that fundraisers are usually not asking their donors and volunteers to do anything fun, like calling up their best friends. She also touched on the fact that fundraisers should build a community where their donors can have the opportunity to befriend one another.
"We have to make sure that our donors become friends with each other, we need to give them an opportunity to become friends who are impacting people, who are impacted by our mission because sometimes they're not the same kind of people," Bugler said. "And so you've got to have a discussion about how volunteers are involved in your programs. And you've got to go to your CEO and you got to make a case for what investments or changes you have to do. And then you got to reach across and you got to find a couple of people who will buy into this mission."
VanHuss concluded with advice on how to go onward with your community journey with a donor-centric mind. Because the more you make your donors happy by providing friendships, the easier it will be to strengthen their identity related to your mission.
“Go through your community journey now with the lens of consumer satisfaction, because really, that's what we're talking about,” VanHuss said. "How do we make them happier so that we can help them form an identity that's more aligned with us. That is what we're trying to build. And if we do that, we will get people to do crazy things for us.”
Also at NonProfit POWER
To kick off the second day of NonProfit POWER, Sarah Reul, vice president of development at City Harvest, presented her session, “Grit, Agility and Data-Readiness: How City Harvest Met the Pandemic Challenge.” Then, after all the sessions and case studies, it was time to have some fun. The second day concluded with a dinner, sponsored by boodleAI, at Fogo De Chao followed by a game night with music and cocktails. After a delicious and filling dinner, attendees laughed the night away playing giant tumbling tower, four in a row, mini golf and cornhole.
Save the Date for NonProfit POWER 2024
Next year's NonProfit POWER will take place in December 2024 in Baltimore. If you're interested in attending in 2024, fill out the NonProfit POWER inquiry form.