Today is National Nonprofit Day so I wanted to share a bit about the nonprofit that I previously ran. In 2011, I had a nonprofit organization called Disordered Eaters Education and Advocacy (DEEA). Through this organization, I went to schools and youth centers in order to educate on eating disorders. Since I had personal experience with anorexia, I was passionate about this subject and wanted to help change as many lives as possible. Throughout the lifespan of DEEA, I had several young people thank me for sharing my story, telling me that they, too, were struggling and needed help – something that I was able to give them.
While doing my work through DEEA, I obviously needed to reach out to schools and youth organizations. I spent a lot of time on the phone and reaching out to my personal contacts. I also sent out brochures to those in charge with information on what I was doing. But it wasn’t enough. Eventually, I was unable to keep DEEA going and had to dissolve the organization. Sometimes, though, I wonder if I would have been able to maintain it through better marketing.
Here’s what I wish I had known then about marketing as a nonprofit:
- People don’t work with companies or organizations; they work with other people. Get out there and make face-to-face connections with the people you want to be involved, especially donors.
- Folks want to know what their donations are going toward. Send emails and pictures of what you’re working on. Have thank you notes written by those whom you helped.
- Keep your name top of mind. Promotional products – whether keychains or magnets or anything else you can put a logo on – are a great way to keep people thinking of you.
- Fundraisers are essential. Broadcast your fundraiser in your community and online, so that people can join in with donations and see what you’re doing.
While I am currently on the Board of Directors for another nonprofit, I try to keep these things in mind. People need to know that you’re out there. People need to know how you’re helping others. And people need to know what they can do to help. (This is where a “call to action” comes into play.) Bring in new team members and donors through marketing that is specific to your organization. And if you ever need help ironing out those details, contact us. We can get you well on your way.