How to turn your young nonprofit into a mature organization
How self-aware are you? You may know how old your nonprofit is – but do you know how mature it is? Today, we take a moment to consider the lifecycle of your nonprofit brand and offer some simple ways to take the next step in your development.
The first thing to keep in mind is that your nonprofit is a lot like your Self. (The capitalization is purposeful. We’re talking about your whole person here, body and soul in the world.) It’s born, it matures, it makes an impact on the world, it is part of a community.
Do you have a plan for your growth? Have you considered what role your online presence plays in how you present yourself to the world?
Consider the lifecycle of a nonprofit
- You’re a startup. Like a baby, your nonprofit is new. It demands attention 24×7. Even though it doesn’t have much personality or connection with others yet, it’s really interesting and full of potential.
- You come a little farther – you’re a teenager. You exist fully. You even have a few resources and some pocket money. Most importantly, you are part of a community and have a sense of purpose.
- And then you are a grownup. These are the big charities – the ones that been around the block and they know who they are and so do other people. Their community is national (or maybe global). Babies and teenagers use them as examples when they’re dreaming and scheming.
As we mature as people, we work to control what others think of us, how we look, what we do, and who we are deep down inside. Your nonprofit brand is no different. It matures from the outside, the surface and – most importantly – from within.
How to mature your nonprofit brand
To an extent, your reputation depends on what others say about you. No brand exists in a void. Even if you’re serving a very niche community, you have competition – for donors, volunteers, and maybe even constituents. Your nonprofit has to stand out. It has to look as good as the good you’re doing. Remember, your image can have a tangible impact on your results.
Your nonprofit brand is everything you are, say, and do. How and what you deliver is where you ‘put your money where your mouth is.’ Tell stories and encourage others to do that same. Show impact statistics and images of those who benefit from your commitment. Stories matter.
People are the soul of your story. These are the people who support you, volunteer with you, and rely on you. Make sure they understand your mission and experience your purpose. If others believe in the work you do, they’ll be more willing to support it – and that tribe can become your greatest source of differentiation and strength.
(Often, we get wrapped up in delivering. When that happens, it’s easy to forget that people are the reason for and power behind the brand.)
Your digital presence is at the center
If you put all of your focus on doing good and neglect to spend some effort on looking good, you’re not alone. Many nonprofits either lose sight of (or lack the resources to) create a website that puts their stories, people, and impacts into the world where others can engage with them.
Don’t be one of those nonprofits.
An attractive and engaging website can extend your presence among capable, interested volunteers and donors within the community and beyond. You know your audiences. You have great stories. You have many reasons to invite others to join you in your cause.
48in48 understands that putting your nonprofit brand into the world takes time, effort, and resources. Like you, we exist for a purpose. Ours is to help nonprofits like you achieve more by giving them sustainable tools and skills to digitally market their organizations professionally.
We’d love to help you. If you’re a nonprofit, your opportunity to grow your presence has never been better. We have three events coming up this Fall in Atlanta, New York, or London. You don’t have to be based in any of these locations to take part. Click any of the links to get more information and apply.
(If you’d like to join in as a volunteer or sponsor, we welcome you! Follow the links to sign up to help, and enhance your personal brand as a generous source of knowledge and support.)