If you’re keen to get your fundraising communications strategy right, read on for Ranya Alkadamani’s three major tips on attracting people to your cause.

If you’re keen to get your fundraising communications strategy right, read on for Ranya Alkadamani’s three major tips on attracting people to your cause.

 

comms strategyWhat is best practice communications? Well, if you’re proactively trying to attract people to your cause (donors, journalists, supporters), it’s very simple. If you follow these three strategies, you will be implementing an effective public profile.

1 Know and articulate your ‘why’ as your message

What do you believe in? What does your organisation believe? Are these aligned? And most importantly, as a not-for-profit, are you screaming it from the rooftops?

If you haven’t seen it already, spend 17 minutes of your time and watch Simon Sinek’s Why TED Talk. This is life-changing – especially if you’re in charge of creating and implementing a communications strategy or fundraising initiative.

If you haven’t watch Sinek, I can briefly summarise the talk for you. People buy what you believe – not what you do and not how you do it. So, as an organisation, you want to attract people who believe what you believe because they will be your true supporters, donors or customers.

One of the incredible nonprofits I work with, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia Australia, provides life-changing surgeries for women who have suffered horrendous childbirth injuries.

While that is compelling, we have gone through a messaging exploration to identify what they believe. And it’s simple: Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia Australia believes in a world where all women are able to deliver their babies safely and where childbirth injuries are a thing of the past.

Immediately, we as humans are asked to make a decision. Do we believe in that? Is that our value too? And there you have it. This is how you bring people on your journey – attract those who believe what you believe and talk about what you believe.

Every organisation should have a set of key messages. These include your ‘why’ as well as the supporting facts (your ‘what’ and ‘how’). And these messages should be used by everyone in the organisation. In fact, it’s critical to have everyone singing from the same song sheet. Sure, you may have different things you need to say at different times, but ultimately, your key messages should act like an al a carte menu, where you pick your entrée (why), main (what) and dessert (how).

Looking at the company I founded, Impact Group International, this is what our key messaging looks like:

Why We exist to inspire a better world.

What And the best way to inspire others is to tell a great story. Your organisation might be doing phenomenal things. But if you can’t tell your story, how can you inspire the reaction you want from your audience?

How We are communications experts who have a strong understanding of how to make the most impact with a strong communications strategy. We know what is newsworthy and how to influence targeted media coverage.

Once you work out your ‘why’, you’re on the way to nailing your communications strategy.

2 Consistent messaging: amplify, amplify, amplify

Once you have your message, you need to amplify, amplify and amplify. Every time you write a media release, an opinion piece, a blog, an annual report or a fundraising letter, you should be going back to your key messages and copying and pasting from your menu.

The only way you can embed your messages in other people is if you are consistently saying the same thing. And everyone in the organisation must also be saying the same thing – from the Chief Executive Officer to the accountants.

It’s also critical to understand your audience and know what you want from them. I always ask my clients: “What response do you want from the audience? What action do you want them to take?” Many people simply think about what they want to say or write. But the important thing to think about is what response do you want to elicit from your audience?

Storytelling isn’t solely about using the right words and mediums to get your message across. It’s about eliciting the response you need from your audience.

3 Alignment with your corporate objectives 

When I work with clients (both corporate and nonprofit), a number of them say, “We need to be in the media” or “We need to raise our profile.”

My immediate response is always, “Why? Does being in the media advance your ultimate goal for your organisation? Is your profile actually that important? Is it better to invest in engaging your supporter base? Will media really work to increase your donors if that is what you are after? Or should you be focused on engaging the donors you already have?”

A strong communications strategy must align with your corporate objectives. Only do media if it is a useful tactic to achieve your corporate objective. The most important objective is your whole organisational goal. The comms strategy needs to work as a tactic to achieve that.

Ranya Alkadamani

Ranya is founder of Impact Group International, an experienced team of experts focused on strategic communications advice for philanthropists, corporate shared value initiatives and innovative social impact programs. Ranya previously headed up communications for one of Australia’s leading philanthropists, Andrew Forrest.

Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

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