We all have an incredible resource right in front of us — our colleagues, members, volunteers, and board.
Just as you discuss your work and affiliations with your friends, family, and colleagues, these messengers share information on your organization’s focus and programs.
With the right training, support, and incentives, this team of messengers can become even more powerful, helping you boost membership, revenue, donations, and, ultimately, impact.
Unfortunately, most of us look right past them, and stay head down tackling our responsibilities in the way we’ve always done so.
Or we can’t get approval from the powers that be, who are afraid of losing control over how the organization is presented.
But I urge you to push through these barriers — it’s worth it.
If you want to learn how to do so, please join my webinar on July 23rd.
Or, read on to discover four compelling reasons — backed up by the kind of research decision makers adore (Weber Shandwick’s Employees Rising study) — to launch your team of messengers ASAP.
1. There’s Never Enough Time, Talent or Budget to Meet Your Goals
Whether you're the solo membership staffer or program manager in your organization, or that's just part of your job, or even if you're one of a team of five, ten, or more, I hear the same thing.
You know what you need to do to help your organization get to the next level, but you can't get beyond limits of time, skill and expertise, and budget.
Adding messengers to your team will relieve the pressure and, as a bonus, get you in front of those you probably wouldn’t reach otherwise. That’s an exponential increase in your organization’s reach.
2. Your People Are Talking About Your Organization — A Lot
Like you and me, your colleagues work long and hard — an average of 47 hours per week, in fact.
Since work represents such a big chunk of our waking hours, it's no surprise that we talk about our workplaces and our days there.
But I was still amazed to learn just how frequently employees discuss their employers on social media.
According to the report,
50% post messages, pictures or videos
39% have shared praise or positive comments
16% have shared criticism or negative comments
14% have posted something about their employer that they regret.
For your passionate members, volunteers, and board members — individuals who support your organization with their energy, time, and money — it’s much the same.
You can bet they speak frequently and proudly about your organization, whether in a call, Facebook post, or with their own colleagues. That’s a lot of discussion about your organization, and a lot of potential to motivate memberships, generate revenue or donations, and increase impact.
Yet, many of them can't accurately describe what your organization does.
In fact, many of them are sharing the wrong information or perspective — incorrect or inconsistent information about your organization, its work, and impact —according to the Weber-Shandwick study. That's disastrous, because….
3. Incorrect or Inconsistent Messages Diminish Trust, Create Doubt and Thoroughly Confuse Your Audience
It's all too easy to dismiss such mis-messaging as neutral or a one-off.
We live in a stressful, uncertain era that feeds skepticism and defensiveness.
On top of that, we're pummeled by messages 24/7, requiring us to filter content for sheer survival.
This means trust has been battered. In fact, Edelman, publisher of the annual Trust Barometer, reports that trust has decreased more in the last year than in any of the past 18 years it’s produced the report.
Audiences get confused and concerned when they hear things about your organization that seem wrong or conflicting information from different sources.
Confusion and concern are uncomfortable feelings, and as a result, the people you need to reach to meet your goals will lose patience and interest.
Worst of all, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to engage them again. Once they’ve lost trust in your organization, it’s gone forever.
4. People Still Trust Their Personal Networks of Family, Friends, and Colleagues
In an era where trust of the media, government agencies, and institutions is way down, Edelman reports that recommendations from one’s own networks remain trusted.
That’s why your colleagues, members, board, and volunteers can have much greater impact than traditional communications, no matter how glitzy or beautiful.
They have the greatest potential to ensure prospects understand your organization’s value and impact quickly and memorably, then act — join, donate, or register.
But they need your help to get there.
Chances are you haven’t mobilized your team of messengers yet, much less trained and supported them to engage your audiences and motivate the actions you want.
Join me to learn how to transform their potential into wins for your organization: Register today for this free July 23 webinar and I’ll guide you through the practical, productive process building a team of all-organization messengers. You’ll finish ready to launch this highly effective but under-utilized approach, and on target to meet your membership, revenue, and impact goals.
Nancy is a consultant, trainer, and coach who guides nonprofit organizations to connect with their people and motivate them to act. She brings contagious passion and refreshing practicality to her clients, and to the field via her blog, Getting Attention. Nancy volunteers with the Interfaith Food Bank of the Oranges and her local garden club. She served on the NTEN board for two terms. Nancy enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and travel—solo and with her family.