Four tips for ensuring your messaging communicates impact
A common problem for nonprofits is finding meaningful ways to communicate impact to donors. They might find themselves recycling the same stories or regurgitating the same statistics. At the end of the day, a nonprofit’s message is its most valuable tool. And if your message isn’t effectively communicating your nonprofit’s impact, it won’t matter where and how you share it because donors will not pay attention. So, how can you ensure your messaging is accurately explaining your impact? Here are a few tips to get you started:1. Humanize your statistics.
Statistics are one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about showing an organization’s actual impact. What better way to convince donors you are putting their money to good use than to tell them exactly how many people were fed or clothed or helped with their donation? Statistics are definitely important, but make sure you remember to tell the story behind the numbers.
One way to do this is to tell a story about specific people or groups of people you were able to help due to the generous support of your donors. Think about the reasons your donors have told you they support your nonprofit and find the right stories that will speak to them. Share information about the situation prior to your arrival in an individual’s life and explain how they are now thriving with your (and your donors’) support. It is still important to talk about the numbers, but make sure you tie stories about your clients to them too.
2. Make it easy to understand.
You live and breath the work your nonprofit is doing every day. While you are well-acquainted with nuanced policies or specific acronyms, remember that your audience may not understand them. When you build messaging around your impact, make sure you are speaking in a way that someone who has never heard of your organization can easily comprehend.
You want to make sure that your mission, goals and day-to-day activities to achieve those goals are simply stated and easy to share. Eliminating jargon from your messaging will ensure it appeals to more people and will make it easier for you to succinctly share stories of your nonprofit’s impact with anyone.
3. Report on results.
When asking for donations, it is easy to get caught up in sharing information about what you could do or plan to do in the future if you had more money. While it is important to build messaging around your goals and future programming, remember to go back and share information on what actually happened with programs you already successfully raised money for and implemented.
Building case studies about your past projects and their results can be a great way to explain impact. Take a step back and remind donors of the project’s goals and intent. Share relevant statistics and outcomes, along with personal accounts of people you impacted. Then, set the stage for what is next. Tell them what you have planned for the future to make an even bigger impact and invite them to join you in making that endeavor a success as well. Case studies can help show that you deliver on your promises and are using donations the way your supporters intended.
4. Differentiate yourself.
Make sure your messaging explains what sets you apart, not only from other nonprofits offering similar services, but in general. You are vying for donors’ attention and need to make sure they are compelled by the way you do what you do. Tell donors exactly what your services or programming look like and what makes it special. Explain the day-to-day lives of your staff and the sacrifices they make to serve others. Show how your organization is uniquely positioned to make the community a better place and expand on how exactly you do it.
Turning the impact you make on your community into compelling words that others will understand and be moved by can be hard. If you simplify your messaging, make it relatable and clearly communicate your processes and results, you will do a better job of explaining your impact to current and potential donors.
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