How to Tell Your Organization’s Story

By Ruby Maddox

In my last post I discussed the importance of telling your organization’s story as stated by donors and one of the foremost leaders in philanthropy, Dr. Tempel.

Many fundraising experts like Dr. Tempel agree, fundraising is about building relationships and engaging donors. Donors tend to give where the feel connected. Building that connection takes time, cultivation, and a show of commitment to the values of the organization.

While many CBOs have dedicated staff that do amazing work for the organization it’s important to find ways to share the organization’s story to provide donors (and potential donors) a way to connect with the essence of that work. So here are some ways you can tell that story.

1. Social Media
This is absolutely a no-brainer. Most organizations already have, at minimum, a facebook and a twitter page, but what are you doing with it? If your audience is on social media use your account to post/tweet upcoming events, pictures from past events, articles related to your organization’s cause, and organizational successes and milestones. Since many CBOs may not have a dedicated communications person (let alone a social media manager) here are a few tips to get your org started.

  • See if there’s a way to divvy up the responsibility among a group of staff members.
  • Hold a mini-training session for staff and board  members willing to be a part of the effort.
  • Be strategic. Come up with a minimum number of posts/tweets per week.
  • Rotate responsibility among staff members
  • Have staff/board members submit content(pictures, articles,events, & updates) to a point person willing to post for others.
  • Don’t forget to discuss with your team what’s NOT appropriate to post/tweet.

2. Annual Report
Annual reports are not only a good way to tell your organization’s story, they’re also a great way to show your organization’s profile and demonstrate transparency since they also include the org’s financial information. Annual reports can be a way for an organization to really highlight its successes over the past year and illustrate the need that the organization fulfills. Not sure where to begin? Here are few resources to help get you started.

3. Newsletterconstant contact
Tried and true, a newsletter can be an excellent way to share your organizations story in a predictable and creative way. Most can be done electronically and pretty inexpensively through services like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and Verticalresponse. These programs are simple to use and offer excellent templates.
Plus, going electronic with your newsletter (or mostly electronic unless otherwise requested) will save your organization money and allow your audience to keep up to date on the most recent events and stories happening in your organization. You can choose to do a monthly or quarterly newsletter, depending on your org’s capacity.

4. Presentations
The opportunity to present the work of your organization doesn’t need to be one-sided. In other words, don’t wait to be asked. Put the invite out there. Offer to come and talk to classrooms, clubs/associations, church groups, events, etc. Put together a simple presentation that highlights the work of the organization and have it ready to go. If possible train several members of your organization to perform this task.
Your presentation shouldn’t be based around asking for money but building relationships. Bring materials from your organization to share and have a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in learning more about the org or joining the email list to receive the organization’s newsletters.

How does your organization tell its story?


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