The Importance of Marketing Yourself
In today's world, if you want to succeed you must market yourself. You simply have no choice. When you do anything you are in competition with others. You represent an institution and success depends upon your presentation and performance. Over time, you have to decide what sets you apart. You cannot do this in a vacuum. You must have the desire and willingness to continually learn about your field and yourself. In my career, I have spent thousands of dollars with personal consultants in an effort to improve my personal brand.
Some ways you can improve yourself include:
- Joining toastmasters or a speaking group and learn to speak.
- Try writing articles or personal blogs so you can become a subject matter expert.
- Take continuing education classes to learn the latest in your field.
- Work out to reduce stress and get plenty of sleep each night.
- Strive to dress well and keep your shoes shined.
- Serve as a volunteer on various nonprofit boards where you have a passion.
- Mentor younger professionals to obtain fresh perspectives.
- Communicate with outstanding veterans in the field to learn from them.
- Always be proactive with your boss and volunteer for assignments.
- Keep your resume up to date and get your CFRE.
- Sign up for Linked In and have others recommend you, and you recommend others.
- Join an AFP Board and other similar service boards.
- Learn to work with the media and experience on-air television interviews and radio interviews.
- Where appropriate, have a Facebook page, Twitter account and other social media outlets.
- Become a consultant even in a minor way. You will enjoy the thrill of being listened to as the subject matter expert. Try having your own LLC Company.
- Agree to speak in public in front of various groups and join public panel discussions.
- Learn to train volunteer boards.
- Be outgoing and go up to strangers and introduce yourself.
- Have your business cards ready to be distributed.
- Always say yes to any nonprofit opportunity.
Develop pride in yourself and understand you need to be "on" at all times in public. Ask others for feedback when you perform so you can improve. Have a thick skin and be ready for criticism, at times. That is the only way you can grow. As your career expands and jobs change, many people will remember you at a point in time with a particular institution. Others with a broader view will remember you as a career nonprofit professional in the field.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.