By now we know that your communication efforts will be much more effective when there is a clear plan in place. It’s important to determine goals and objectives, understand your audience, and develop a coherent message as first steps because having these pieces in place will help you identify the best medium or communication channel for each nonprofit message.
Your channel is the vessel in which you choose to share your content. Different types of messages are received and presented differently via different channels. Part of knowing your audience will be identifying where they go for information; this will help you know where to place your focus.
Which channels should you use?
There are many communication channels to choose from when delivering your nonprofit message:
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Events (in-person, virtual, hybrid events)
- Public relations (cable news, radio, newspaper, etc.)
- Direct mail or newsletter
There are other factors to consider when choosing a channel. From a cost and convenience standpoint, many digital channels are readily available to utilize while sticking to a conservative budget. Social media is a particularly accessible and popular tool for communication because it’s free to use and fairly user friendly. It’s also where many consumers are seeking out connection and information.
Website and email
Websites and email services can also be fairly affordable and user friendly. Having a website legitimizes your organization. It helps solidify your nonprofit brand and build rapport with your audience. A great email platform is also highly advised because you can be more confident that your nonprofit message is being welcomed and received by your constituents whereas other online marketing might be missed.
Events and public relations
While events require a lot of effort and planning, they’re a great place to share your nonprofit message and even turn a profit for your organization! I highly urge you to consider sharing meaningful videos, and in-person and online testimonials at your events — whether live, virtual or hybrid. “Mission moments” are a great time to deliver your organization’s strongest stories to a captive audience. Events can also go hand-in-hand with nonprofit public relations efforts if coordinated properly.
Direct mail and newsletters
While they’re more “old school,” physical mailers and newsletters are still a great way to reach your audience. Certain audiences in particular really appreciate getting a piece of mail, especially in conjunction with an online campaign. That said, direct mail tends to be more expensive and should be used thoughtfully.
Try to utilize as many channels as you can, but remember to focus on the ones your audience uses.
What content do you share on each channel?
Share long-form content on your website, via direct mail and newsletters, and occasionally via email. Share more bite-sized content via social media. Studies show most audiences respond better to content when there is a visual component such as a photo or a video. A few strong, communicative photos can go a long way!
Remember, you can always create a long-form piece of content and then slightly tweak it to repurpose it on various platforms. For example, you could write a long appeal letter in which you are sharing photos and the story of someone you’ve served. Then you could post a short excerpt of the story such as a powerful sentence or a quote on your social media platforms. Another example would be making a long “mission moment” video for your next special event and then sharing a clip of that video in your next email.
The more you are able to repurpose your content, the more time you will save yourself in the long run and the more coherent your brand will seem. With your goals and objectives, audience, and nonprofit message already determined, sharing the various versions of your content via different channels will be sure to be more effective.
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