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Isn’t life a little easier when you have a little support? It’s nice to have someone to do the dishes while you’re cooking dinner. It’s great when your neighbor can keep an eye on your house when you go out of town. And it’s amazing when your friend brings you a coffee, right?
Having support not only lifts our spirits, but it helps us to feel more confident! When we know someone has our back, we feel good! When you put effort into relationships, both new and old, not only does it make you feel happier and more confident, it can actually benefit your nonprofit organization!
Today, we’re talking about how to get more support for your nonprofit organization so that you feel more confident, better connected with your donors and supporters, and on top of all that – so that your nonprofit can grow with the help of a new network of people who will want to support you – but they just haven’t met your organization yet!
We’ll cover how to identify new relationships to build, how to use social media as a “virtual handshake” to break the ice and grow your relationships, and I’ve got tons of real-life examples I’m going to share about these types of supportive relationships that are going to make you feel like you’ve got a support system throughout your community.
So, when I say supportive relationships, what exactly do I mean? A supportive relationship means a relationship with a business, another organization, or a person or group of people that will be there for your nonprofit as a cheerleader, as a promoter, as a helping hand, and sometimes, even as a partner.
Let’s talk about identifying new relationships to build…
Depending on what kind of nonprofit organization you have, there are different places you can start looking for support and to build relationships. In order to do that, you have to have a plan and a place to start. Here’s how you can do that.
I want you to sit down for 5 or 10 minutes today, and I want you to get out a piece of paper and pen and start brainstorming. Make a list of organizations or businesses or people that can help you in some way, or that are relevant to your nonprofit.
Just write them down as fast they come to mind and DON’T judge whether they would or wouldn’t help you. Just write them down as they come to mind – 20 of them, even if they seem ridiculously impossible.
If you are a faith-based nonprofit, you can immediately start making a list of the churches in your local area that you can build relationships with. Add other nonprofits or things that relate to your organization, too. Remember this is just brainstorming list – so get really bold and creative here.
Let’s say your nonprofit organization is a pregnancy care center – ah yes, surprise, surprise, one of my favorite examples!
Not only can you make a list of churches in your area to start building relationships with, but you can also add to your list things like emergency rooms, hospitals, urgent care clinics – why? Because not only can they send you referrals, you are actually helping them by taking care of patients they don’t want to see yet! When a woman goes into an ER for a pregnancy test – she not only spends in the neighborhood of $1,000 on a pregnancy test, she also takes up the time and space of other patients, the doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and all the other people that make a hospital function. They want her to get help, but the ER isn’t the right place.
Your pregnancy care center is the right place for her to find out if she’s pregnant. The ER doesn’t know about you and neither does the young woman – but both of them could benefit from knowing you…see how you could easily start a relationship with the ER?
It can go beyond ER’s, too. Make a handout that can briefly explain how your pregnancy resource center can help any OB/GYN office, or high school based clinic or college campus clinic – anywhere that deals with this type of situation and spell it out for each of them exactly how you can help lighten their load. Let them know exactly how you can be a resource for all of them. You won’t use the same handout for OB/GYNs, school- based clinics or colleges – you’ll vary it according to how you can help.
See how far and wide the scope of your organization can go? That’s why I want you to make that list – write down any and all ideas, no matter how crazy.
You see in this example, the types of businesses and organizations that you should be targeting to forge relationships with aren’t just about getting donations – it’s about supporting each other. Helping each other be the best you can be. Helping each other make your community better.
Let’s use another example – let’s say your nonprofit is an animal shelter. On your list of relationships to build, you could add any local dog trainers that could come in and work with your volunteers so they can help your organization’s dogs be better behaved and therefore more adoptable. And as for the dog trainer, they can benefit by you handing out their business card to everyone who adopts a dog. I always love the animal shelters that partner with photographers, so they have great photos taken of their adoptable animals to capture their full cuteness and attract potential adopters. And the takeaway for the photographer is they put their logo in the corner of the photo, or maybe you thank them publicly in a social media post, so it helps their business.
One more example – let’s say your organization is a school. You have so many opportunities to get creative here – find local writers, artists, successful businesses and community members and have them come in and give presentations to classrooms. And then, as a benefit to that person or organization or business, you can thank them on your social media page, or include a link to their website in your email newsletter.
All of these relationships will only help grow your support system in your community. When you start partnering with people for one common goal, you will start to see more and more support. You’ll gain more and more supporters and more donors. Your involvement with other organizations and people helps build your nonprofit’s reputation and credibility – and that is what brings in consistent support.
Now, once you have that list written down – your list of 20 organizations or businesses or people that you’ve thought of, or that are relevant to your nonprofit – I want you to pick one or two of them, and make a plan for how you are going to help them. How could you be of service to them? What is their pain point, and how could your organization come to the rescue? Notice it’s about how you can help them, give something to them, be of service. I know – it’s hard. But I want you to just get the ideas going on this. Because once you do, you’ll feel more confident in approaching them and starting your relationship.
So, let’s talk about HOW to start new relationships and expand your community support.
The most basic thing you can do is to get on Facebook and Instagram and start liking posts and pages AS YOUR NONPROFIT. Now what does that mean, “as your nonprofit?” It means, don’t like or follow the Facebook page for Sally’s Clip n’ Curl Salon as yourself – like it as your nonprofit’s Facebook account. If you don’t know how to do that, you can get step by step instructions on how to interact as your page right here: How to Interact as Your Nonprofit Facebook Page
To like a page as your nonprofit’s page, get on a computer – not your phone – and go to any business or organization’s page. Then, click the three little dots next to Like, Follow and Share. Click “Like As Your Page.” Then select your nonprofit’s page when the menu appears.
It’s important to interact on Facebook and Instagram as your page because when you do, that business or organization will get a little notification that your nonprofit liked their post or that you followed their page. You get to raise a little bit of attention towards your nonprofit and build their awareness that you exist! As soon as you start interacting with them, you are starting to build your relationship.
Don’t be afraid to leave comments as your page – even if it’s on a business page that doesn’t really directly relate to your organization but it’s still in your local area. For example, leave a comment on a local car wash’s Facebook post with a picture of a clean car they just washed – just something simple like, “Wow! That a car is spotless!” Why? Because you are getting your nonprofit’s name out there. You are building your nonprofit’s reputation. And – who knows, maybe someone will see your nonprofit’s comment and then use your services. Or maybe one day you’ll have a fundraiser and need silent auction items and look – you’ve already got a relationship with a great local car wash who would be happy to return the support to your organization with a gift certificate donation.
Just remember – interact as your page so you are building your nonprofit’s reputation!
Another thing you can do – this works especially well on Instagram – is start interacting with other organizations’ or business’ followers. For example, if a great local church has followers on Instagram, start following them as your nonprofit’s account. Try “liking” one or two of their pictures, if their account is public. Again, it’s kind of like a “virtual handshake” – you’re getting your nonprofit’s name out there and when you start following them, or liking their photos, Instagram will give them a notification about it.
Don’t spam anyone and like ALL their photos or anything like that – be genuine. It’s a great way to help get your organization’s name out there and expand your community support.
I know – it’s kind of scary to start liking a stranger’s photos or follow them – but remember, you’re doing this all as your nonprofit’s page! They don’t even know it’s you – so be brave! Experiment! You got this!
If you have any questions – I’m right here for you! Ask away! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email through NonprofitPotential.com and I’ll happily write you back with an answer!
Remember to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, or get episodes delivered straight to your email by subscribing at NonprofitPotential.com.
Tell someone you know about this podcast! Send them an email about it and say, “Hey! I’ve been listening to this podcast and I’ve been getting a lot out of it – just thought I’d share!”
The more you share this podcast, the more you are helping people who have so much to give to the world but might feel stuck trying to figure it all out on their own. So, help them out! Tell them about this podcast so you can help someone with a great mission get “unstuck” and move forward to make the world a better place with their nonprofit.
REMEMBER – You have so much to share that is of value! What you have to say matters! Your opinions, your instincts, your insights – they all matter! God gave you a unique life and a unique personality – that means, nobody has the same exact insight as you do. Nobody else does what you do the way you do it. God made you totally special and one of a kind, and you bring an amazing point of view to the world – be brave and share it! You are amazing!
Alright my friend, until next time!
Links mentioned in this episode:
Episode 6 - Handling Comments as your organization’s page
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