A 2016 study by the National Center for Charitable Statistics revealed there were more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United States.

Two years later in 2018, that number had grown to more than 2.2 million. With no slowdown in sight.

Every one of them reaching out to corporate donors and consumers, hoping to get their message in front of the right eyeballs and make a difference in their chosen field.

There is nothing more satisfying for everyday consumers and corporations than donating to non-profit organizations. The desperate need these non-profits and NGO’s fill is far too often overlooked and, in some cases, even minimized in a world where so many efforts and issues are literally and figuratively screaming for attention.

Which is why after years of working with non-profit organizations of various charitable levels, the first thing I tell their leadership and Board members is two things that will improve their direction. 

Tell your story.

From the CEO of every organization to the newest volunteer, there are captivating, emotional, educational and heart-tugging stories to be told. What is it that brought one person to this non-profit, what drew them in, and what keeps them part of an organization that is doing so much good for individuals and and for the community.

You must produce a consistent and compelling line of stories, ones that media outlets must make part of their offering. These are the stories that humanize the effort and bring the positive natures of the charity into every home, onto every broadcast platform, in every form of print, and on every digital source.

The child with a smile. The volunteer with a passion. The community that has been altered forever in a positive manner.

Every story is special. Every story is captivating. Every story speaks to volunteers, and especially to donors.

These are the stories that become the backbone of every grant application and every donation outreach. This is why your charity is here. To make lives better.

And they are made better every day by the telling and retelling of stories.

Have a planned and targeted strategy using the media to tell that story.

Every day, local, national and global media platforms are seeking stories. It’s all about CONTENT. It’s all about proving to the media you have a story, you have the background, you have the chops, and you have the material they can use to tell the story. Without it, you are often dismissed to the electronic dust bin of the news cycle.

By the end of 2018, video comprised more than 80% of what is uploaded as content to websites. Where once there was just a newspaper, there is now a website fighting for video content. Desperate for podcast material. Tossing aside written releases. There is social media reaching targeted thousands or millions with the right content. There are emerging sites every day that are micro-targeting their audience, and in that audience are corporate donors and people wanting to be involved in a cause.

NGO’s and non-profit organizations face uphill battles all the time. And in today’s media driven world, they are also facing huge skepticism by the media as to their message. That’s because NGO’s need to rethink their strategy and dedicate themselves to delivering a message, a story line, that the media can not pass up.

It’s all about proving to them your relevancy in a world being buried in easily available irrelevant fluff and nonsense.

Developed after working closely with charitable organizations of every size, these are the Top 5 ways I encourage and work with non-profit organizations in getting the most bang for their buck and getting their message properly distributed.

1. Tell a story and have the content to go with it. Every charity has great human stories, about the people who work for them and those they serve. Interview these people. Produce those short form video and audio features that will deliver your story to the newsrooms, the site managers, the platform content managers, the people who make decisions every day about what they feature.

2. Every facet of your strategy must be social media ready. Your website has to be easily viewed on multiple devices. If it can’t be easily viewed, read  and watched on a smartphone, you’ve lost a huge chunk of audience. Everything must be integrated into a designed social media strategy for ease of delivery and the immediacy of stories.

3. Make your content relevant. Connecting your non-profit to current news events provides an easy hook for platforms. Manage this media to ensure it is not only on your website as soon as possible, but available to news and other outlets that will spread your message at no additional cost. Part of this is understanding who and what the news is at every level. Use the professionals who have been in the newsrooms, leading the social media efforts and platforms, and who speak the language of these media organizations. You only get one chance to make this impression.

4. Media train every single member of your organization. From top to bottom everyone needs to understand how the media works, especially social media. One mistake by an individual connected with your organization can force a crisis situation that can lead to a loss of favor from corporate donors and people seeking to reach into their pockets. Don’t allow your organization to be caught completely off guard when someone working for you and representing your brand does something that puts you at the center of controversy. For instance, the Florida Middle School that had to bear the publicity brunt of a teacher who was  hosting a white Nationalist podcast without their knowledge. When the story blew up, it tainted the school and everyone associated with it.

5. Turn your leadership and Board members into experts and commentators ready and willing to appear on television, radio, and other forms of media to promote the NGO message. Broadcast panel programs are more popular than ever, and they are always seeking guests.

Your brand is important, but just as important are the STORIES. The human side of who and what you represent.

Make this part of an overall media strategy, and you will reach those that will want to become a long term part of helping those in need.

And those that will ensure your organization has the funding it needs to make it all happen.