Call it a funnel. Call it a cycle. However you see the process of winning loyal supporters for your nonprofit organization, there are three steps you want those supporters to take.
Know. Like. Trust.
No matter how strong you, your programs or services may be, you will still be ignored by prospective donors, volunteers, and other supporters until they know, like, and trust you.
My colleague Patrick McFadden wrote about this for small businesses. It is just as true for nonprofits. So, do you want to be ignored? If so, you can stop reading right here. If you want supporters, though, read on!
The “Know” Stage
It’s a truism: people can’t support you if they don’t know you. So how do we get our nonprofits to be known?
- Word of mouth. If their friends tell their friends about you–face to face or through social media–that’s the most powerful recommendation.
- Blogging. Answer the questions people are wondering about and they will come back for more.
- Social media. Yes, you can use Facebook, Twitter, etc. to put your words out there, but it’s even better to find people who should be supporting you and actually talk with them. That’s why they call it “social”!
The “Like” Stage
Just because they know your organization’s name doesn’t mean they want to talk with you. (You’re not trying to pick them up at a bar. You want a real relationship!)
So, you must get permission by a) being likeable and b) giving them a good reason to want to hear more.
“Likeable” is Dave Kerpen‘s trademark. The same qualities that make us likeable in real life can help our organizations win likes on Facebook (for instance). We ought to think like the people we are trying to attract and give them what they need. Read his book for good advice on how to do just that.
What should nonprofits give their prospects to get permission to email them? Patrick McFadden suggests we “give” them:
- Easy ways to find what they need on our websites (including landing pages designed just for them)
- Information in their inbox–news they can use
- Expert advice in the form of an ebook
The “Trust” Stage
While you’re developing “the Know” through articles, posts, and referrals, “the Like” through your website, newsletter, and ebooks, you’re still not fundraising. Be patient.
As Patrick says, “Trust is perhaps the most important step and yet it’s not one you can simply manufacture through one or two tactics – it comes together through a collection of things.”
- Write blog posts that readers are eager to read.
- Deliver your newsletter or email updates consistently.
- Educate. Don’t promote.
- Post content on your website that’s so valuable reputable websites will link back to it.
- Participate in social media by sharing great information and helping others find what they want.
- Help your prospective supporters before you ask them for help.
What’s one thing your organization does to get supporters to know you? Like you? Trust you? Please share it below in the Comments section.
A good reminder Dennis! Knowing, liking and trusting are crucially important concepts when building relationships with supporters.Thank you for this and for inviting me to share my story on your blog. Here’s my story: http://theotherbottomline.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/the-x-file/