To quote my Aunt Babe (age 93), “It’s a poor dog that won’t wag its own tail.” This gives you permission to share positive observations about yourself. For nonprofits, not doing this could literally lead to being ‘poor’. Wagging your own tail starts with documented effectiveness – it is an important part of how you tell your nonprofit’s story. So why don’t nonprofits do this more? Nonprofit organizations would do well to heed this admonition: share more positive observations about yourselves!
Wagging Your Own Tail
It may seem that the work of your nonprofit is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. The daily grind that often comes with “doing good,” coupled with understaffing and the quest for sufficient funding can challenge one’s commitment. It can be hard to lift people up and work for the greater good. It follows that time, energy, and funds for public relations are often scarce. Consider the following points on the connection between how to tell your nonprofit’s story through public relations and increased funding.
Good PR Can Help Nonprofits Raise Money – Smart non-profits realize that a strong PR effort and good press coverage can lead to increased fundraising. How can good PR help you raise more money?
- New Prospects Find You – These prospects may be donors or volunteers who want to learn more about what you do and find out how to donate to your work.
- Raising General Awareness – When people in your community start to know your name, they become aware of the resources and services you provide, they understand your mission.
- “Social Proof” – This may include press coverage to provide good social proof that what you are doing matters and connect your mission to the needs of real people in your community. This can lead to donors, but it can also lead to grant funding when funders can see who you are.
Stay Mission & Vision-Focused – Successful nonprofits generate great stories about the successful work they do and stay focused on their mission and their vision.
Great PR Rarely Just Happens. It takes lots of calls, press releases, and follow-up to generate good coverage. Tell your nonprofit’s story with ore tail wagging!
Where Should I Start?
Start by crafting the story you want the world to know about your work, your mission, your organization.
- To craft your story, you must document your effectiveness.
- To document your effectiveness, collect and share:
- Organizational and program performance data;
- Personal impact testimonials: and
- Photographs of related activities and events.
Demonstrate how you improve the quality of life for people or animals and elevate local standards for community development or enrichment. Illustrate how the extent of the needs and your use of successful strategies justifies requests for the expansion of your program(s). Give a clear picture of your passions and priorities to draw the attention of funders with similar drive and focus. Show how your efficient use of resources maximizes a funder’s return on investment.
The next step is to compile a contact list for all of the press outlets and reporters in your area, including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and online outlets. Then start pitching stories! Send out press releases, and hold press events. Generate newsworthy items, and get that press coverage rolling in. Get that tail wagging!
[Excerpts from Fundraising & Public Relations: What’s the Connection? (thefundraisingauthority.com)
Aunt Babe also says, “A little of his gravy goes all over my plate.” This means she doesn’t care very much for that person. What does this have to do with documenting your nonprofit’s effectiveness and wagging your own tail? Nothing actually, but it’s still funny. Now go out there and tell your story. Increase your funding. Wag your own tail!