I’m sure we’ve all heard this expression: XYZ Ministry is the best kept secret in our town! We do all this great work, but no one knows we’re here.
Let me let you in on a little secret: it’s your responsibility to let people know you’re there. So perhaps it’s time to cut down some branches and pull down some vines to let people see the great work that you’re doing.
So often we spend time waiting to get permission, waiting to have someone invite us, waiting to be picked. Instead, we should be educating the public about the challenge we’re addressing and inviting people to become part of the solution.
Here are three tips to help you get started:
- Engage your board. Provide board members with the information they need to begin advocating on behalf of your organization in the community. Then encourage them to share information about you with other people they interact with (and provide an easy way for them to being their colleagues to the organization for a tour or informational gathering).
- Have regular contact with the media. Identify the top three publications in your region (that are geared towards your primary audiences). Then learn about what types of stories they run, what their needs are and who rights articles related to the topics your organization addresses. Provide appropriate, timely information on a regular basis (through press releases and other communication). Over time you will become a trusted resource.
- Communicate regularly. My husband and I support about a dozen organizations each year. They range from schools we attended to our church to a few other community organizations that are important to us. It amazes me how many groups only communicate when they ask for a gift. The worst situation though is when I need to call to request a tax receipt at the end of the year – but that’s a different topic entirely and fortunately is the exception rather than the rule. This is really about two things: (a) providing a regular stream of information about the cause the organization; and (b) providing ongoing invitations to be involved so that, when the time is right, your organization will be top of mind. But in these communications, don’t talk about your organization. Rather, talk about your cause and about lives that have been transformed.
These are my thoughts. What are yours?