I am so invigorated when I hang out with nonprofit leaders. I feel their passion, their energy, their commitment. And I know the world really is better off because of them. Intellect, compassion, empathy – these leaders have it all.
Yet when I read the communications that come out of the organizations they lead, I’m often left wanting more. The emotion I love to hear when they talk ---is often lacking when I read the content on their web site or in their collateral materials. And based on my experience, the reasons behind this can be summarized into one of these four areas:
1. Too academic and at a very high literacy level. Yes, nonprofit leaders are very smart social workers, health care providers, educators, public health professionals. They write to this very same audience. The language used may be appropriate if you are writing a grant, but not if you want to connect and become memorable to your stakeholders. My suggestion: be real, humble and authentic.
2. Inconsistent messaging. Too often, each individual program or service described in communications, has its own unique image and voice. As a stand-alone, these descriptions may be effective. But kn actuality they don’t really stand alone. I’ve often heard nonprofit leaders say, “Well it is different because it is targeted to a different audience”. But stand-alone pieces sacrifice the synergy and benefits of consistent branding. Instead reinforce a singular vision and mission and connect back to the whole, the cause, and make sure it is easily recognized as a part of a family look and feel. Consistency is everything in your organization's messaging.
3. Too much content. Yes, nonprofits stand proud and want to shout to the world about everything they are doing and all the results they are achieving. But today, people are so inundated with words and messages, they just don’t read. On average, a person is exposed to 343 ad messages...a day! Readers tune out or get lost with all those words. Instead use clean, simple messages where less words are better.
4. Forgetting the Millennials. This is a huge population bubble (bigger than the boomer generation) representing future donors, volunteers, and staff. They expect different things from communications. For them data driven, analytical content is trumped by authenticity, creativity, and experience. Instead think Social!
So here is the challenge. Record yourself talking about the organization for 3 minutes, than 1 minute, than 30 seconds and finally 10 seconds.
Now you are getting down to the essence of your brand. And now you have overcome the 4 pitfalls of nonprofit communications, and are instead are capturing the words that will help you:
· Connect with new constituents
· Reflect simplicity so all can understand
· Be memorable, differentiating, and easily replicable in all communications
Some call this the elevator pitch. I call it your Brand! If you need help getting down to your core vision or brand, we would love to help you out. www.hcollaborative.com