Promoting Your Organisation

Whether your organisation survives or thrives could come down to the effectiveness of your communications.

This communication includes your interaction with people about a service that could improve lives in your community; with potential donors about how they could support your organisation; with regulators and the public about best practice and transparency in your nonprofit; or with the media about a major issue facing your organisation - strong communication is at the heart of achieving your goals.

Communications Strategy

In order to promote your organisation’s cause, work and impact effectively you need to think clearly and creatively at every step. In communications it pays to be proactive rather than reactive.

Do you have a strategy for regular and effective communication with your stakeholders?

(Stakeholders are the people who would have a particular interest in your organisation, everyone from the people who use your service, to the bodies that fund you, to your volunteers, staff and local community.)

If not, consider drawing one up.

Here are some pointers to consider as you develop your plan:

  • Always link your Communications Strategy to your organisation's overall vision & mission, and to your overall strategic plan.
  • Think first about what high-level, broad goals you'd like to achieve through your organisation's communications.
  • Think about your organisation's various stakeholder groups - consider them as separate target audiences for your various communications.
  • What key messages do you need to convey to each of these target audiences?
  • What are the best channels to use to reach these separate target audiences?
  • Consider how you can reach your high-level goals over the next 12 months? What actions will you plan to take and how can you measure their success?

Think carefully about the image you wish to portray. Your image need not be overly glossy - it does, however, need to be professional, and you can begin to set the right tone by having proper stationery and using a standard logo on all materials.

Social Media

Social media can be an affordable and effect way to connect with service users, funders and members of the public. You can use social media to drive awareness for your cause, inspire engagement, whether that’s by generating donations or growing your membership base, or you can create advocates on social media who will promote and share your work.

Organisations should have a clear plan in place before using social media as a communication tool. The first step is to create a social media strategy and a social media policy. Both should be written internally to ensure the organisation's core principles are upheld. Remember that whatever you use, you will have to plan for who will update information and how often, and how you will monitor the effectiveness of your online activities. The social media policy must be clearly written and easily understandable to all organisation members. The strategy must identify the tools you will use and how they will be used.

For some tips on how to get started on social media check out our webinar Getting the Most from Social Media for Smaller Organisations.

Press / Media

The media has an important role to play in the life of community and voluntary organisations. It can enhance an organisation’s profile, enabling them to raise awareness of their activities, to reach out to potential new supporters and to influence policy debate. It also needs to be considered as an important part of crisis management in the unlikely event of the organisation receiving unfavourable publicity. 'The media' is a broad term that includes local, national, international press, radio and television, both generalist and specialist.

Working effectively with the media is time consuming. The first step is developing a policy on what kind of relationship your organisation wishes to have with which parts of the media. The next step is ensuring that you can do the following:

  • Build and maintain relationships with sympathetic journalists and broadcasters over time.
  • Appoint a spokesperson(s) for the organisation and make sure that they are appropriately trained to do the job.
  • Plan for media involvement, and appoint someone responsible, from the very start of planning any project, including events and conferences.

If you need some help in writing a press release or you just want to brush up your skills, check out our webinar on Writing a Press Release.

Websites / SEO

The majority of community, voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises now have a website. Websites are created for many reasons including sharing content, driving donations and collecting petition signatures.  A well-designed, up to date, user-friendly, mobile-responsive website can built trust between your organisation and the website users.

For smaller organisation or those on a tight budget, there are easy-to-use website builders (such as WIX, Weebly or Wordpress) which you can use to build and launch your nonprofit website. 

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way to set up your website so that it appears high up in the results of search engines such as Google. SEO expands your websites visibility and drive more visitors to your site. The best SEO technique is to write content that resonates with your audience. The number one priority for search engines is to show relevant search results to their users and good quality content is paramount in that.

To get started with optimising your website for SEO check out this blog.

Google Grants

Did you know that Google offer a Google Ad Grants for online advertising to nonprofit. Under this grant you’ll receive $10,000 USD to spend on your Google Ads advertising every month.

To find out a bit more about this grant check out the Google Ad Grant website.

You encourage you to watch this webinar to help you get started and set up your Google Ads Account.

How Else Can We Help?

For more help with promoting your organisation, log into our regular series of free Webinars for Members - this series often features webinars focused on communications topics.

Consider attending our popular Communications training events.

Check out our latest blogs on communications:

https://www.wheel.ie/blog/2019/03/five-ways-improve-your-digital-strategy

https://www.wheel.ie/blog/2019/01/digital-transformation-nonprofit-organisations

https://www.wheel.ie/blog/2019/07/visual-storytelling