Nonprofit Organizations Must Communicate All Year Long
By Joseph John
Yes, it’s summer — it’s time for vacations. People you’ve dealt with for most of the year are disappearing for long stretches of time. It seems like there’s a period of two or three months when we seem to lose touch with each other because of the numerous directions summer vacations take all of us.
But here’s a word of caution — or a couple of words, really:
Don’t let your organization’s communications take a summer vacation.
You really can’t afford to lose touch with your membership and major donors during this long stretch of period. It’s important to continually thank the donors, and inform the membership of current news. But, most importantly, it’s just good business to make sure that all of those folks your organization has touched over the year, remain in touch. How? Communications takes all forms:
- Send out email newsletters. Newsy news. It only has to be “sound bite” news. News that will just reinforce the fact that your organization is remaining in touch.
- Tweets are cheap. Now, do you really want to talk about “sound bites”!?
- Use your Facebook page, or get one set up. Guaranteed that more than 50% of your membership has a Facebook account. Many members of your organization, taking summer vacations, are already posting pictures of their vacation on their Facebook page. What a perfect opportunity to remain in touch, post pictures of something that’s going on at the organization.
- Continue your blogs on your website — more newsy news. If you don’t have a blog site, create one. Then, seek bloggers to contribute articles to your site. More newsy news.
- Write postcards. Yes, it might be old-fashioned, but there are still plenty of people who send postcards from their vacation sites. Well, the organization can do the same thing. Send a postcard or two during the vacation period let membership know what’s going on during those long stretches of summer vacation. Sort of like a “Wish You Were Here” postcard. Communications doesn’t all have to be serious.
- Stay in touch with your local newspaper or community newsletter and contribute newsy news to the print media. They’re always looking for news and they too are looking for news during the down period in the summer.
And while all of the printed and electronic communications is taking place with your membership, don’t stop there. The organization should also get involved in the community by friend raising. Get the organization invited to speak in community groups and other nonprofit organizations. There are many local groups that are always looking for speakers for their monthly or weekly programs — all year long and, of course, during the summer vacation period as well.
Create your ten or fifteen minute fast-paced, high-energy presentation about the great things your organization does for the community it serves.
If your organization doesn’t take a communications vacation, the payback will surprise you: more friends, more members, more community involvement, and ultimately, more donors.