Reach is everything for a nonprofit. Bigger reach almost always results in more donations. It also makes fundraising much easier and expands your organization’s profile.
Often, when non
–profits want to increase their reach, they turn to social media. But there is one way to boost reach that also comes with a whole host of other benefits: community engagement.
Let’s look at the benefits of nonprofit community engagement and how you can use community engagement to your advantage:
Benefits of Nonprofit Community Engagement
Increases Brand Awareness
Getting involved with communities is fantastic for your visibility. Something as simple as having volunteers in branded t-shirts helping out at community events can increase your visibility and get people talking about your brand.
If you want to boost your brand awareness, few things are more effective than community engagement.
Expands Network and Partnerships
Community engagement provides ample opportunities to make new connections and build your current network by getting to know your donors. Great things can grow from simple chats in the community.
Use community engagement to meet new people. You can then turn these new connections into fruitful partnerships. You’ll find your network growing in no time.
Improves Volunteer Recruitment and Retention
Among the people you meet during community engagement will be potential volunteers. Use your time in the community to tell people about what you do and why you’re doing it. It’s very likely that some people will be very interested and want to help you out by volunteering.
Community engagement can also be very fulfilling for the volunteers you already have. Getting your volunteers actively involved in the community is a great way to help them feel like they’re making a difference. This, in turn, improves your volunteer retention rate.
Increases Donor Acquisition and Fundraising Opportunities
Community events are excellent fundraising opportunities. Some events, like local fairs and school festivals, may allow you to set up a stall for your organization or even to place fundraising buckets around. Even if you can’t explicitly fundraise, talking to people about who you are and what you do is a great way to bring in new donors.
Some regular community events donate funds raised to a nominated charity or cause. Finding events like these and putting your name forward could produce the triple-whammy of increased visibility, new donors and volunteers, and a large lump sum donation. It’s also great for donor retention, as it keeps you visible and at the forefront of donors’ minds.
Creates a Positive Impact on the Community
Doing something positive for the community is a good thing on multiple levels. As well as the obvious benefit to the community, it also
- Improves your brand reputation.
- Boosts your visibility.
- Provides a fulfilling experience for your volunteers.
People remember the people and organizations that have had a positive impact on their communities. Any time you see an opportunity to do something good in the community, you should take it.
Builds Trust and Credibility
We live in an age of suspicion. The number of online scams and data phishing schemes that have proliferated in the last few years has made people wary of donating to any organization they don’t entirely trust.
Getting out into the community proves that you are a legitimate organization with a legitimate cause, volunteers, and a safe fundraising strategy. This builds the kind of trust and credibility that you need to build your profile and bring in funds.
Strategies for Effective Nonprofit Community Engagement
Identify Target Communities
You will get the best results (and be able to do the most good) in communities that are receptive to your mission. For example, if your organization raises funds for educational materials, your most receptive audiences may include parents of school-age children and educational professionals.
The next step is to identify points at which these audiences come together to form a community. For example, your parents and educators may have built a community through school WhatsApp groups, school fairs, PTAs, school sports events, and so on.
It can be complicated to analyze your audience and understand the profile of your donors, but leveraging technology can really help here.
Solutions like Sage ERP software can do some of this work for you as it brings all of your data together, allowing you to analyze donations and income as well as your donor’s or customer’s profile. Another great tool is Google Analytics, you can access it for free by registering your nonprofit with Google and it will give you a breakdown of your website’s audience.
Develop and Manage Community Partnerships
Community partnerships are fantastic when they work well, but they won’t develop unless you work at it.
To get the best out of your community engagement:
- Nurture any prospective partnerships carefully.
- Reach out and ask how you can make this partnership mutually beneficial.
- Check in regularly to see if your arrangement is working and how it could be improved.
Obviously, this takes some management, which isn’t always easy when you’re running a busy nonprofit. Again, technology can help. Community engagement programs like Hivebrite are great for managing partner, volunteer, and donor relationships, especially when combined with a donor-friendly fundraising platform like DoJiggy.
Leverage Digital Platforms and Social Media
Social media platforms allow you to engage with communities on a day-to-day basis. They also give an easy way for community members to contact you casually without having to navigate more formal channels. There are also multiple tools you can use to manage your social media such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer, helping you to create the most effective strategy.
You can use other operational digital platforms to make sure every penny is spent wisely. Business process management software will help you to plan community events by providing project management and budgeting tools. This means you’ll stay within budget, track increased donations and easily gain insights into what can be improved for future invents.
The Effect of Community Engagement on Your Reach
These days, we tend to run straight to social media when we want to expand our reach. But community engagement adds an authentic, in-person element that can’t be replicated digitally.
By engaging with the communities you work with, you prove your credibility, meet a wide range of new people, and create plenty of opportunities to get posted on social media. All of this is fantastic for your reach.
Through community engagement, you can reach whole new audiences, bring in new donors, and raise the profile of your nonprofit.
Engage With Your Community to Create Genuine Connections
Community engagement is a fantastic way to build trust, credibility, and good feeling within your target communities. By participating in community events and generally interacting with your communities, you can boost your visibility, create a great reputation, and increase both your volunteer and your donor pools at the same time.
The right technology can be a huge help when it comes to community engagement, so be sure to check out relevant platforms and software as part of your community engagement strategy.