Let’s be honest. We all want to help better the world in one way or another, but true heroes rarely follow that dream. The rest of us donate what we can to causes that resonate with us, whether it be time or money, non-perishable food or flip flops. If you’re an organizer of a charity, you’re here for one reason:
How do I raise awareness using non-profit marketing strategies?
Personally, I have a couple of side projects going on. I haven’t yet been able to take the time to pull together resources and create a proper 501(c)3, however I do gain enjoyment from giving proceeds and leftover clothing donations from the few SwapDrobes I’ve hosted to some local charities: Lucy’s Hearth, Seamen’s Church Institute, Women’s Resource Center, Bike Newport, Boys Town New England and Making Roots for Haiti.. and every once in awhile, I’ll donate a piece of Gemerosity jewelry I’ve created to an auction to benefit a non-profit. It makes me feel good. I want to help those less fortunate, and I know and embrace my capacity when it comes down to gifting my personal resources.
The bottom line is, I have a bleeding heart, and I try to carve out time during my weekends to share my talents and benefit those who need it most.
Enter Project Cinderella.
I jumped at a chance to be photographed for Project Cinderella, an Acushnet, MA Gifts to Give project, this past September at some really cool ruins at Scarborough Beach in South County, RI. (Google Photosphere)
Jennifer Evie, model and owner of Overnight Dog Sitting; At Or Away From Home, graciously donates her valuable time to organize monthly photo shoots, diplomatically bringing together photographers and model talent throughout New England, as well as gowns and accessories she collects as donations. Amy-Ellen at Just Between You & Me Photography donated her time and photo taking skills to capture some shots of us and edited them skillfully for this project. Project Cinderella collects and donates dresses to young women who simply can’t afford to spend that kind of money on their prom or Quinceañera. Jennifer donates her time to host these monthly shoots to offer free promotional images for the charity’s website. This gives girls an opportunity to get a sense of what dresses are available and to help bring in more donations.
If you’d like to help, Project Cinderella continuously collects “gently-worn” formal dresses, shoes and other accessories. Think about the once-used bridesmaid or Grammy party dress, handbag or pumps that never fit you right, but looked fabulous at the store. They’re probably collecting dust in your closet! Now, think about the warmth you’ll feel knowing a young lady in need can feel pretty and loved by strangers for a special evening where they can finally emulate Cinderella. ???
Message Jennifer on the Project Cinderella Casting Page on Facebook to get involved!
Here’s a nice collection of the models shots to date (you can find me @32-37).
The best way to really raise awareness for your non-profit marketing is to work with connectors.
These movers and shakers ARE NOT AFRAID to get their hands (and sometimes bare feet) dirty while selflessly promoting and donating their personal resources to benefit your charity. Sometimes you’ll luck out and get to work with a Jennifer Evie, but most of the time, you’ll have to do your homework to find reliable people with some skills you need who truly want to get behind what you’re doing.
While there are a lot of websites nowadays to search for talented volunteers, I recommend to start reaching out to your current social sphere of influence. Create a Fan Page on Facebook and a Company Page on LinkedIn and ask your friends to like or follow your pages. Once they’ve expressed an interest, send a private email to see if they’d be willing to donate their time for your charity. Don’t just ask for time though, ask for a real task to be fulfilled. Ask for them to share a social post on their wall to their network, or if they can recommend someone who can assist in promoting your idea in some way.
Other people who can get you on the right track if you’re just starting out are attorneys. They’re the folks who can walk you through the initial paperwork, and I recommend having at least one in your pocket. If you’re connected with an awesome lawyer whose heart bleeds for your cause, then you may be able to gain their insight/help on the cheap. Be aware of those who surround you. If your cause is legit, it will become magnetic and the universe will open up the doors for you to flourish and for the right people to find you.
The one thing that you really need to remember is that your non-profit marketing needs to tell the story how you benefit other humans. Whether it’s saving the ocean, puppies, or fighting hunger or thirst, there will always be a group of motivated folks out there who will get behind your organization. By using the internet tactfully, you can share your message with connectors and social influencers. Think about adding these folks to your executive board; give them a title and the ability to input their thoughts, and they’ll be sure to boost your momentum and take your charity to the next level.
You must continuously tell your story. There’s no way around it; the world can’t read your mind. If you are engaging potential donors and connectors with content they’re searching for, they’ll find you, and let you know they can help. When it comes down to writing, you should do in-depth and ongoing keyword, persona and vertical-charity research and surveying, if the market already exists, to see who might be interested in helping out your charity. Be aware of basic SEO practices. (hey, we write about that all the time!)
If you’re already up and running and a legitimate charity, you may feel as though you’ve exhausted your personal sphere of influence. If you’re at that point, there are some helpful websites to look into if you need volunteers for your 501(c)3 (or you’d like to volunteer):
On another note, if you’ve stumbled upon this blog because you’re interested in writing about non-profit marketing, please let us know and we’ll get you in touch with one of our charity friends 🙂
#goodluck, and thank you for your heroism.