Reach Your Funders – Share Your Stories

ngos donors ICTs resource mobilisation
Wednesday, 30 March, 2011 - 10:02

In this article, the author shares useful tips on how NGOs can take advantage of information communication technologies to update the public, friends, colleagues and stakeholders, existing and potential donors, on the work they do and the impact on the beneficiaries

Take control of the way you market your NGO to funders - today.

For those of us who can't afford expensive advertising, marketing and communications services, there is a solution that promises to be equally rewarding. It's really simple - start sharing the amazing stories and best practice emerging from the work you're doing (we all know that NGOs do fantastic and meaningful work!).

In today's fast-moving, deadline-driven world, we can be forgiven for being preoccupied simply with getting the work done. However, while good results are important, it is just as important that these results translate into financial reward and recognition. Of course, it is not a matter of profiteering (if you're in the NGO sector, you're not in it for the money).

But the simple truth is that you need funding - as means of ensuring that your good work can continue; that you become ‘sustainable’. This is true for any business, but in the world of the NGO, it is doubly so.

A really simple way to ensure that the money comes in is to share your results and successes through story-telling and story-writing, and then to broadcast the stories through basic communication channels such as your website and social media. In this way, you can reach not only funders (potential and existing), but also friends, colleagues, communities and other stakeholders.

Really, it's just like advertising, but with a higher purpose, a sharper focus and more endearing content. It is the opportunity to showcase your organisation in the best way possible, and to get in touch with the people who are only too eager to support your endeavours.

If you share your stories in a planned and calculated way, not only will you soon begin to enjoy the direct benefits of a well-marketed organisation (people talking about you; a place in the public eye), but you will also begin to change the way in which you market yourself in everyday conversations... "You're interested in knowing how we've been making a difference in this area recently? Visit our website - we have a really good example of how we're reducing poverty levels in the community through our entrepreneurship programme," or, ".thanks, that's really interesting feedback - right now, we have an online debate happening on our blog, and I think I'll mention what you said, there. I'm sure it'll spark some interesting comments and will add some value".

Clearly, with a new, refocused marketing strategy and rollout, you can make much better use of the circles you move in, and your focus on targeting and connecting with the right people takes on a whole new dimension. To put it simply, you have a much greater chance of reaching people who have the ability to give you the funding you need. It makes sense, doesn't it?

But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The first thing you're going to have to deal with is the voice in your head that says "I don't have the time for this" or "this is for someone else to do" or "it's too complicated to put into place". Do you have the grit and the drive to get beyond that conversation?

If this sounds daunting, do not despair. The longer you focus on this "do-it-yourself" marketing model, the more natural it will begin to feel. Take the first step, and stick at it. People will soon be able to see the impact your NGO is making.

Remember, as an NGO you are making a huge difference out there, and a seemingly small success story (if communicated well) can inspire a mass readership to take action. And don't forget - there are many people out there who are willing to support you in all kinds of ways.

To sum up:

1. Take your stories and successes - no matter how small you think they are - and share them;
2. Make use of the technology and infrastructure out there to broadcast those stories (and plan to do this regularly!).

 

If you want to learn about how to write effective stories (it's really simple), click here for a free download from Bay Moon Communications website. At Bay Moon we stand for NGOs communicating, and marketing themselves effectively.

- Michael Poole works for Bay Moon Communications.

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