Your non-profit organization does great work, serves the community, and makes people’s lives better. You know that, but the community at large may not know; so the question is, how do charities raise awareness of their work?
You’d be surprised how many members of your community may have never heard of your charity– and that doesn’t mean that your charity isn’t impactful. It may just mean that you need to focus more time on outreach and awareness-building efforts. Read on to discover how to raise awareness of a charity!
Don’t ignore free marketing that’s right at your fingertips. Even if your volunteer or donor base is older, most people at least have a close relative who uses Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter. Consider using all three for maximum impact!
Think about who you’re speaking to when you craft social media posts, and let this inform your language, as well as any photos you use. For example, young people may be drawn to more flashy graphics and exciting events, while older generations may be drawn to more calming color schemes.
Ask your existing volunteers, donors, and board members to follow you on all social media platforms, and encourage them to share your posts to their friends and followers to raise awareness.
Many local, family-owned businesses, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and mom & pop grocery stores, will be happy to partner with you to offer a discount when customers mention your charity– and they’ll be doubly glad that they’re helping to raise awareness for a cause. Ask your volunteers or donors to share photos of themselves on social media at the local business wearing their charity swag (t-shirts and buttons, for example).
One best way to spread awareness is at your local college. Many college students are eager to get involved with a charity, especially when they know they’ll be helping to make the world a better place. College campuses host student involvement fairs year-round; do a quick search online to check whether any campuses near you have an involvement fair coming up.
In addition, many college campuses have a central location where hundreds of students pass per day, where they allow charities to set up tables and hand out information. Ask your local college campus if there is an opportunity for you to do this. If so, be sure to bring something enticing to hand out with your brochures and flyers: students love free candy, coffee, pens, and stickers!
Most coffee shops have community boards where you can hang flyers to promote your organization. These boards are often strategically placed where nearly everybody who walks into the coffee shop will see them, so you’re likely to get the attention of large swaths of people– be sure to include contact information or a website on your flyer!
Venues or organizations such as theaters, restaurants, and bars– for example– may be happy to partner with you for a “charity night”. You may host a theater night for your volunteers and donors to invite guests to, which will promote a further reach of awareness for your charity in your community.
You’ll want to look at your volunteer or donor base (depending on who you aim to attract) to decide on your best options for social events.
For example, many charities have a large volunteer base of retirees. You could consider hosting an ice cream social or bingo party at any of your local retirement communities. If your donor pool consists of businesspeople, consider any holidays coming up: could you host an Easter-themed or Independence Day-themed event at a local venue, complete with fancy cocktails and live music?
Social events help to raise awareness for your charity because they do more than simply ask for people’s money or time; they provide a fun, relaxing day or evening for anyone who attends. Not to mention– these also double as fundraising events. Make these events as fun and exciting as possible, and attendees will go home and tell their friends. Then, you’ll have people asking you when your charity is going to hold its next event!
Google is your best friend here; there are likely multitudes of local clubs and organizations looking for local charities to speak about their work in the community. For a start, try researching “clubs in my area”. Reach out to club leaders to ask if you can speak to its members about what your charity does for your community.
Everybody loves free stuff! It’s easy to find a printing press that will place your logo on just about any object nowadays: think pens, t-shirts, buttons, water bottles, phone cases, tote bags, and drink coolers just to name a few!
Your charity does amazing work in the community; the news is likely to snatch that story up. Have your PR professional write a concise, compelling story about the ways in which your charity has impacted your community this year, and send it to your local news station or newspaper.
Again, social media is your best friend here when you’re wondering how to raise awareness for a nonprofit. If your charity has volunteered, perhaps have your volunteers engage in a little friendly competition by sharing photos of them engaging in volunteer work, complete with a unique hashtag that spreads awareness about your charity. At the end of a specified time period, pick your favorite(s) and reward them with a social media shout-out and a bit of unique swag!
Content Contributor for Sodality