Nonprofit Visibility – Seriously, is it worth all the effort?
Guest editor: Cheryl Williams
If you still believe there’s no such thing as bad publicity, look no further than Mike Richards, who in a matter of weeks went from one of the most coveted positions in U.S. television as Executive Producer of billion-dollar game show properties Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and newly minted host of the latter to unemployed with his reputation permanently stained. Reputation building is hard work. Putting yourself out there can be risky. So, is it really worth the time and expertise it takes to build and maintain the visibility and reputation of your nonprofit?
Society for the Advancement of Consulting nonprofit experts offer their perspective on why and how visibility for your nonprofit – and you, as one of its top leaders – is a critical investment for your organization’s ability to deliver on its critical mission.
First: WHY. At this link you’ll find my perspective about what nonprofits can learn from the world’s top global corporations on the importance of making an investment in visibility and communications. And while it requires a commitment, like all good things, this work can be done efficiently and effectively. An overview of a process your communications and marketing teams can use to create your breakthrough communications strategy begins with your prioritized key audiences (WHO), brings to life your messaging that will be compelling to those stakeholders and prospects (WHAT) and the approach to reach your WHO with your WHAT, or your HOW, is found here.
Not sure whether your existing marketing or visibility strategy is sufficient? Check out these 10 signs your marketing strategy needs a reboot from Gail Bower, President of Bower & Co. Consulting. Gail also highlights three evergreen ways to grow audiences who love and support your mission.
Following are several additional outstanding ideas from leading nonprofit consultants on how to increase the visibility of your organization.
I love (pun intended) the suggestions by Karen Eber Davis, of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, on how “public displays of affection” can showcase your nonprofit to donors and supporters in unexpected ways in well-trafficked places and encourage you to read them on her blog, found here. Ambassadorship, and leveraging your board members as ambassadors, is another valuable approach. Karen’s 12 Ways to Enhance Your Board Member’s Experience and Help Your Nonprofit include ways to leverage your board members to connect to others whom you might otherwise not have access as well as to help reward your board members in ways that incent them to increase your visibility.
Rebecca White of The Content Cove is a nonprofit strategy, writing, and fundraising consultant who helps mission-driven organizations significantly improve their impact. Her blog post, Gaining Visibility in a Crowded Nonprofit Field, shares both the statistics and a personal situation that reminded her and us of the critical importance of visibility.
Rachel Healy of Open Eye Creative is a gifted storyteller through video and film. Rachel highlights the value of storytelling and shares the three Rs, Relevance, Resonance, and Relatability, of how to effectively and engagingly tell stories about your nonprofit in her LinkedIn post, How Nonprofits Can Stand Out. You will not regret visiting that post to see a photo that demonstrates Rachel’s commitment to bringing those three Rs to life!
IIf you are interested in learning from the successful visibility initiatives of other nonprofit leaders, Patton McDowell of PMA Consulting’s podcast explores this topic! In an episode titled How to Energize Your Nonprofit’s Social Media, he explores practical ideas to help nonprofit leaders embrace digital media strategies, and in 4 Ways to Make Your Virtual Fundraiser More Successful, he dives into the critical marketing and communication tactics necessary to elevate fundraising events in virtual settings.
Joining us for the first time? Previous newsletters can be found here. Topics include Revenue (“No Money, No Mission”), the evolving landscape of our sector, collaborations and partnerships, and emerging stronger from the pandemic. To suggest a future topic or for more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest Editor Cheryl Williams is a leadership and executive coach and nonprofit strategy and marketing communications consultant who helps mission-driven organizations and individuals achieve breakthrough visibility and peak professional performance. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or via her website.
The Nonprofit Expert Community is a specialist group within the Society for the Advancement of Consulting, each of whom has been selected and approved for membership based on their consulting history, client endorsements, and ongoing commitment to a high standard of practice, ethics and professionalism.
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