10 Ways to Manage Your Nonprofit's Perception vs. Reality
I strongly suggest you constantly attempt to control the perception and reality of your organization through reinforcement of education, information and communication. People invest time, talent and treasure in organizations they trust. They need to feel secure that you exist to make a positive difference in the lives of others. They want you to be honest and transparent. The majority of people only obtain a perception of your organization. Your job is to make sure if they peel back layers of the onion, they can see an organizational reality that backs up and reinforces a positive perception.
Here are 10 ways to do that:
- Promote the mission of the organization.
- Tell consistent stories of engagement — how you solve the problems of society in a positive way.
- Communicate your brand. For example, The Salvation Army's is "Do the Most Good!" Tell donors how we do the most good.
- Reinforce third-party testimonials about your organization.
- Make the perception real, transparent, ethical and valid.
- Back it up with numbers and statistics — people served in various ways.
- Speak from the heart and soul of ways others believe you are special and unique.
- Seek feedback from others, and understand how to learn from feedback.
- Make sure your actions match your words as an organization.
- Be proactive and not reactive with print media, radio media, television media, social media, etc.
I suggest you make every effort to control the perception of your organization if possible. If you are successful in achieving this goal, your organization will thrive and not merely survive.
I wonder where my staff members are this week.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.