Nonprofits and mission-driven organizations are doing incredible work. We work so hard because we believe that the problems we’re solving are big and important. But who sees what we do and understands the value of our work? Usually, it’s limited to those who benefit from it and those who provided the resources to do it. And that is inhibiting us from ever being able to adequately scale our solutions and create transformative change.
How you communicate about the work you do is the difference between a Band-Aid solution and long term transformation.
In most mission driven organizations, the work we do to solve the world’s biggest problems takes all our time and energy. This limits the amount of time and resources that we have to do other, seemingly less important things, like talk about it. Any time or resources we do have to spend on communications often goes to reaching a (relatively) small audience of established supporters upon whom we rely for funding (our email lists, people who like us on Facebook, etc.).
This results in a closed ecosystem.
A traditional communications cycle goes something like this: We ask supporters to fund our solutions (communications) > We implement solutions that serve direct beneficiaries (programming) > We thank the supporters for making the implementation possible (communications) > We need more resources to continue serving and/or scale our solutions (programming) > We go back to our supporters to ask for help (communications)
This means that any communications campaigns we run are done under the assumption that they will directly benefit our work via either fundraising or advocacy. So, every time we talk to people, we’re asking for something. Whether we’re asking people for money or asking them to care, when we get what we asked for, it’s never enough. And even worse, we’re usually asking the same people.
Repositioning your organization as an Influencer can change that.
Our ability to multiply impact is directly correlated to our communications strategy. To maximize our impact, we have to transform ourselves from organizations who need something to influencers who ignite something. Becoming an influencer flips the traditional charity paradigm, placing the nonprofit at the center, as a resource for both beneficiaries and supporters.
No longer trapped by dependence in a closed ecosystem, the Influencer paradigm allows nonprofits to develop mutually beneficial relationships with individuals, businesses, and other communities. This allows us to spread awareness, grow support, and promote adoption and improvement of our solution with exponential efficacy.
This requires a change in our communications strategy. We have to turn our reactive, needs-based approach to communications into one that provides resource in the form of expertise and new information, builds relationship, and offers opportunities for connection. It’s about what we say and how we say it.
This article is an introduction to a series on the 8 Elements of Influence. Throughout the next eight articles, we’ll explain how to establish a voice of expertise, innovation and efficacy, connect with unrequited allies, and mobilize a broader community– a process we call The Cycle of Influence –to break out of our restrictive traditional communications paradigms and become Influencers.
Imagine if it wasn’t just you and your team tackling the issue at hand. Imagine if instead, it was every single person, business, and community who was affected by it. Imagine if this didn’t require any more time or resources, but simply an adjustment to the way those resources are spent. This is the power of the Influencer Paradigm. This is why Good Done Well exists – to multiply the good being done in the world.
We see you. We hear you. We love you.
With gratitude, GDW