How to Build Meaningful Connections Throughout Your Community

Broadening the reach of your organization will not only help you attain a wider donor base but also increase the likelihood of achieving your mission. This article dives into a few strategies you can use to expand your community reach and build relationships with loyal donors.

How to Build Meaningful Connections Throughout Your Community
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As a non-profit organization, you likely rely on donations from individuals. While large corporations may support your efforts with occasional donations, rallying the support of a large base of dedicated community supporters is essential for enabling sustainable growth and accomplishing your mission.

While you may be spread thin on resources as a non-profit organization, building a community and broadening your reach is an important effort to focus on and will ensure you can achieve your mission on an ongoing basis. In this article, we’ll dig into a few key strategies you can implement to reach more potential donors, without taking up all your team’s time.

Build Brand Awareness as a Community-centric Organization

When you’re first starting out, it’s likely that very few people know about your organization. This means you have a lot of work to do upfront to spread the word about who you are and what you’re working toward.

Start by developing a clear mission statement. In a sentence or two, you should be able to convey exactly what your organization’s goals are, who you support, and how you’re doing it. After you have a rough idea of what you’ll include, work with the rest of your team and board of directors to refine your mission statement.

In all of your marketing materials, especially your website, make sure your mission statement comes across clearly. It should be easy for readers to quickly identify what your goals are and who you’re looking to reach. While your mission statement should be present somewhere on your website, the rest of the content should reflect that statement, including your copy, tone, and included visuals.

Once you’ve refined your brand and content, it’s time to start spreading the word! Consider reaching out to local news companies as well as relevant publications with a press release highlighting your organization and efforts. Within this, it’s a great idea to include your mission, your audience, any accomplishments you’ve achieved so far, upcoming events, and a quote from someone on your team.

Use Social Media to Expand Your Community

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In today’s day and age, when it comes to your digital presence, having a website isn’t enough. You need to also be active on the social media platforms your potential donors and community members frequent. Depending on the demographics and interests of your target audience, select 2-3 channels to build a presence on and use to expand your reach.

Once you’ve selected your platforms, build out your profiles. It’s a good idea to fill out as much profile information as possible, including a link to your website, a short bio on your organization, and founding year. Use your organization’s logo as your profile image to make your page easily recognizable.

After establishing your profiles, you can begin publishing posts. It’s a good idea to create content educating your audience about the problem you solve as well as the impact you have driven and seek to drive. Use relevant hashtags to get your content in front of new users who aren’t yet following you.

Social media is a great place to connect with similar or local organizations and your ideal community members. Reach out via private message, leave thoughtful comments on their posts, and react to new content they publish.

You can also connect offline to forge deeper partnerships. For example, you may reach out to an organization that supports a similar cause you do and ask if they’re interested in developing a co-marketing campaign. In this type of campaign, you work together on efforts, sharing the work and expense as well as the reward. This is a great strategy to increase donor loyalty and reach new individuals who will be interested in your organization but may not have heard about you yet.

Implement Email Marketing to Improve Engagement with Your Community

After you’ve begun to build out your community, create the opportunity for donors and potential donors to stay engaged by developing a newsletter. Reach out monthly or bi-weekly with updates on the impact you've driven, notable projects, and any new needs. This is also a great place to share your community partnerships.

Make it easy for people to sign up from your website and encourage subscribers to pass the email along to their network. By sharing your impact, you’ll be able to forge deeper connections with your existing community and continue to grow your reach.

Outside of your newsletter, you should have regular email communications with your donors. Make sure to send thank you notes anytime you receive a contribution, as well as updates on the progress you’ve made thanks to their commitment. Doing so will help you increase donor loyalty and engagement.

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