Sally Kirby Hartman of the Norfolk Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia wants ideas on how to publicize the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence, which offers monthly two-day training sessions for area nonprofit staff and board members. Topics will vary each month and range from strategic planning to marketing, accounting and fundraising.
From Lois Carter Fay of Massanutten, Virginia:
“Since I lived in Williamsburg for a number of years, I’m going to respond to this request with specific suggestions about the Hampton Roads, Va. community. Your new offering is something that the local business journal, Inside Business, should be interested in. Contact the editor and suggest that IB develop a new quarterly special section on nonprofits. It would include such things as profiles of the various nonprofits, along with a story about your newoffering, emphasizing the benefits of how this training program will benefit the many nonprofits in the Hampton Roads area. Other story ideas could be: how a nonprofit organization grows its leadership, why nonprofits are important to the community, how they compete for talented employees when salaries and benefits are generally lower than at for-profit firms, a list of all the nonprofits, why it’s important to volunteer in the community, profiles of high-visibility volunteers, and the economic and social impact that nonprofits provide to the community, a calendar of events for nonprofits, etc.
“Gather a list of all the nonprofits in the area and do a postcard mailing series of at least three postcards to the entire list. Make the series benefitdriven. What are the top three benefits of your new program? Design the campaign around these benefits and entice people to sign up for your seminars. Get a graphic designer or advertising agency to do this creative work pro bono. Create an email newsletter about your program and develop a list of subscribers from the nonprofit sector who will let you email them. Keep them apprised of your offerings and give them little tips for success in the nonprofit world.
“Ask some of the more influential nonprofits, like Volunteer Hampton Roads, to help you promote the program. Offer to train their executive director for free in exchange for her help in spreading the word. Approach Cathy Lewis at the local NPR station about being a guest on her show. This is exactly the kind of topic that her lunch-hour program discusses. Talk about the joint venture between public and private institutions and, if applicable, about the ‘two sides of the water’ working together to create a better community. (This would also be a perfect topic for both Leadership Hampton Roads and the CIVIC Leadership group which Cathy Lewis heads. Try to get on their programs to present to their 2004-2005 classes.)
From Penny Leisch of Tempe, Arizona:
“Consider holding workshops that are industry specific. For instance, make flyers and brochures inviting all of the animal welfare organizations, rescue groups, shelters and government animal care and control agencies. By focusing on related industries, you offer a value-added to those you invite, which is the chance to network and exchange ideas within the industry. You can also target your training and resources to one industry, rather than trying to cover all bases. The high quality, focused information will generate great reviews, and your reputation will spread quickly. To advertise your workshops, you might hold mini-seminars with brochures and Q&A sessions at local bookstores or coffee shops. Again, gather information about some of the favorite gathering places of people who work in a specific industry or area.”
From Liz Bearce of New Orleans, Louisiana:
“Create a database consisting of nonprofit directors or coordinators. Send these people a letter or brochure introducing the program. Ask if you can come and speak at their next staff meeting. Follow up with a phone call.”
Nonprofits can save time and money generating free publicity, with everything from hotlines to templates for standard news releases. Read about what you’ll learn on the CD or electronic transcript titled “Failproof Publicity Tips for Your Nonprofit“.