There are plenty of posts about brand, plenty about fundraising, and perhaps these days, too many about social media, but here's what's important…  it's the correlation of these three critical organizational components that work to improve your nonprofit's sustainability.

All too often, these areas of your organization are treated as individual silos of varying importance. If you approach your organization from a systemic viewpoint, then you know it is important to consider each operational component in relation to all the others.  If fundraising is about relationships, and brand is about what people think when they hear your name, then social media can work to promote both these goals.

Unfortunately, social media is rarely leveraged appropriately in order to reinforce your brand, or to build relationships. It's essential to recognize that all communications are social; whether you're advertising, encouraging positive public relations through various media outlets, emailing your monthly newsletter, or discussing your exciting plan for the future with a potential donor. It's important to be relevant, to be understood correctly, and to leave a lasting positive impression.

Collaboration can improve your standing in the community…

Yes, our attention span has gotten shorter, so getting to the point in an interesting and engaging manner is important.  So is sharing relevant content, things your audience will enjoy.  If all you do is post about your next fundraiser, you're going to lose your viewers quickly.  Apply the rule of thirds; if you talk about your community and promote others in your community, then you earn the right to talk about yourself.  This strategy can manifest itself in all sorts of conversations, including: success stories, community impact and events, industry trends, and stakeholder needs.

It's about the conversation, it's about sharing…

Yep, you want to share, but not haphazardly; create a plan and develop a strategy that reinforces your brand and your reputation. You have the power to influence how people think about your organization. You can easily move the needle in a positive direction, but first you need to formalize your brand and then develop a written plan to keep the energy flowing in the appropriate direction.

Stories and image create connection…

We're visual first. Forty percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Today, social media platforms give you the ability to present an image to promote your message.  So, use images to better explain your position and to bolster your story.  Because fundraising is about relationships, a goal for all your communications should be to create an emotional connection between your organization and your audience. Select authentic images to create that connection and build your relationships.

When you take a systemic approach to building your brand through comprehensive communications and connect your messaging with an overall strategy, you better position yourself for fundraising and greater sustainability.  We recently presented a webinar on this topic for the Mountain Rescue Association.  To learn more view the Powerpoint and give it a try and if you have questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call!

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