Finding Your Institutional Voice
by Lynn Calder
While watching The Muppet Show with my daughter last night, I was reminded how daunting crafting an institutional message can be. A rebranding expert comes in and tries to make Up Late with Miss Piggy more relevant—the gang choses to craft their own plan and hilarity ensues.
For many nonprofits, figuring out how to best craft your institutional message to your constituents is indeed a challenge. How do you tell your clients about your services? Are you making the best use of social media and your website for your constituents? Is your message clear in your publications and e-blasts?
With so many forms of communications, it is key to find your institutional voice and message. How do you do that? This week, Shoestring Solutions for Nonprofits is sharing 5 Simple Tips to get you started:
- Start with your Mission
First, take a look at your mission statement. Is it relevant to the work you are doing now? Make sure your work as an organization is constantly meeting the goals of the mission statement.
- Who are We Talking to Here?
Reflect on whom you wish to reach with your institutional message. Is it current members, donors, alumni, parents or the general public? Write down the top three groups.
- The Write Stuff
Next, consider your current goals as an organization. Think about what you want people to understand about your organization or an issue. What do you want them to say when asked about your organization? What do you want your target audience to know about your institution?
Determine the top three core messages of your organization—and write them down. Be concise and clear in your messaging. Consider how these messages will help drive fundraising, admissions or delivery of your organization’s services. Let these three core messages be the road map that will drive all your institutional communications.
- Create a Tagline
From your three messaging points, develop a tagline that quickly and concisely communications your institutional goals. Keep it to 8 words or less. Make sure it is memorable—and repeatable!
- Stay on Topic
So now you have your messaging in place. What’s next? Let the core messages guide your content for publications, help position your e-blasts or newsletters and be present on your website. Keep to your core messages on social media, where it is easy to get off-target with posts or tweets. Make sure you are always on mark with keeping relevant to the message and being useful to your followers.
With your organization’s core messaging now set, it will be much easier to communicate all the good work you are doing—and better reach your constituents.
Shoestring Solutions for Nonprofits is passionate about helping small nonprofits meet their mission. These 5 Simple Tips are just a taste of how we can help you gain traction with your constituents, raise funds, and make the most impact with limited resources. Questions? Contact us: email@example.com