A nonprofit cannot reach its full potential unless they have the support and engagement from their community. Better yet, county or even state. There are a variety of reasons for this, the main one being is that it will not be successful without it. Here are 5 ways to effectively get community engagement with your nonprofit.
1. Establish Yourself in One Area
Many nonprofits look at big names like United Way and GoodWill and have the aspirations to reach thousands and have their name spread across the country while helping as many people as they can. When you do that, you may be able to help various people in various places, but your growth rate will be extremely slow. By establishing yourself in one area, you can quickly spread yourself over the local area, receive more funding, and be able to get more supporters in less time, helping you be able to find another location.
2. Running a Grand Opening Campaign
There are known opportunities in the PR world that are great for receiving exposure. Grand openings, launches, releases, etc. As you’re preparing for your grand opening, you should use this as a PR opportunity to not only get exposure but engage with your community. Talk to them, hear their needs, have one-on-one discussions so that you can not only have a better idea of what programs to build but gain their trust and support.
3. Leverage Community Leaders and Businesses
As a nonprofit, you are helping your community one way or another. By doing so, community leaders will want to be involved. By having community leaders support your goal, you will receive a consistent and a wide range of exposure. You will also receive media attention as local leaders are persons of interest. Long-lasting local businesses are beloved by their community. By having their endorsement you will gain immediate trust from locals.
4. Use Ambassadors to Spread the Word
Ambassadors are powerful tools that can help keep you in the public eye and start the engagement. Either through social media, in person, or other way, ambassadors engage consistently with the public. Be sure to pick an energized, social, and well-spoken group to be your nonprofits ambassador. They will be engaging with the community and be your representative, you don’t want the wrong person representing you the wrong way.
5. Create Mutually Beneficial Opportunities
Even though there will be opportunities that present themselves to you that will help bring more engagement from the community, that doesn’t mean you wait for them to appear. It is important that your nonprofit is proactive in creating opportunities as well. This can be done in a number of ways.
First, look at your current programs, how can they be used to help with local or even national issues? Is there something your community is lacking or has been wanting that your programs can be adjusted in order to help? If you are not able to do the mentioned, then another option would be to create initiatives.
If you can create an initiative to help with pressing and current issues, the media will want to cover you in order to let the community know what is happening, helping with the community engagement. These are just a few ways to help get media coverage and create opportunities to do so. One of the best ways is to focus on current events and solving them.
Be the Nonprofit Your Community Needs
Every community needs someone looking out for them. As a nonprofit, many individuals are looking to you to be able to help them and will give you as much engagement as they can. That is why it is vital that you are listening to their needs and wants. However, don’t feel like you have to do it all. There are many other nonprofits out there that are helping as well in their own unique ways. Focus on what you are good at, become the best at that, and gain the community’s trust in that specific area. Sometimes you will gain a lot of engagement and trust and other times it will be little by little. No matter how it happens, it is important that you focus on growing and continue helping your community!