Being involved in a NGO can be both challenging and rewarding. Working for the common good, for the 99% of population and staying committed to your mission is a tough road, not all of us are ready to take.
Let’s make it clear from the beginning I am a fan of you, your journey and your passion. I admire your aspiration and commitment and I am not judging any of your decisions or setbacks. I am mostly here to give some ideas for further exploration and state the obvious which sometimes in real life it’s difficult to grasp, when overloaded with tasks, goals and day to day struggles.
So, what would be some easy steps to enhance your service and make people engage with your mission?
Define your mission. Put it down in writing.
Before you start it would be good to have a deep understanding of your organisations core mission. Got it? Write that down, put it on the wall and never forget to look at it when things get ugly.
Define your priorities and needs
Depending on your current situation you need to define priorities on your goals and define your needs both on monetary/ non monetary donations and volunteer support. This would be beneficial in order to reach out to and attract the right support.
Understand your target audience.
Your serving to society and your impact is admirable for sure, unfortunately, not all of us are interested in your cause though.
Who are the people that would be interested either to get involved or support your cause and why? Who are the persons and what are their triggers? Where are they coming from and where are they headed? Go out, talk to them, don’t sell them anything, just understand who they are and why would they be involved in any level with your organisation.
Communicate the cause. Clearly.
The mission should be crystal clear throughout your organisation by now, if not, work again on this area to enhance mission understanding throughout your organisation. This is important not only to enhance further communication outside of your organisation, but most importantly to take the right decisions and fight on the right path throughout your challenges.
Wether it is about animal rights, children abuse or eliminating waste and saving the planet the cause needs to be communicated clearly to a wide range of audience. Start with your target audience and expand from there. Knowing your target audience which probably has a special interest to your cause could help you form your communication and address your mission in the right language.
Nevertheless try to always state what you are aiming for and why. Be direct, clear and transparent throughout your communication.
People, not involved in your cause — with no or with limited knowledge about the situation you are trying to address -should be able to get a brief yet clear understanding about the real problem, your mission, why this is important and how you work towards a solution.
Be transparent. Make information accessible.
Throughout your communication try to be transparent regarding your current situation, your achievements as well as your setbacks. If possible make every little detail of information accessible.
Thus said, avoid to force this information to people not interested to, and try to find a balance between accessible information and efficiency of communication.
Make it personal. Awake empathy.
Use a direct and transparent yet friendly and personal tone of voice in order to make people feel comfortable and open-up for further discussion and involvement.
Show them the good cause, show them what you aim to achieve and how this will have an impact to their own lives or their children’s life or how this will have an impact to the world they bring their children to.
Make them feel the purpose rather than understand it. Make them dream of a better tomorrow. Make them feel frustrated with the problem, yet motivated to support the solution. Make them wanna help but also, show them how.
Offer people diverse opportunities to get involved.
Not every person empathising with a cause is able and/ or willing to commit to a monthly donation, or to a permanent non-end volunteer position.
Staying open-minded and fostering diverse opportunities for people to get involved with your organisation, could be radically beneficial to your NGO in the long-term.
Having a good understanding of your needs on your own and having a strategy on how you could use help to accommodate those, would be a first step towards a detailed planning of opportunities for people to get involved.
Try to offer divers areas of involvement and include standard but also innovative opportunities for people to support your cause.
In order to get the support your NGO needs, you need to maintain a direct, clear, personal and respectful communication on what kind of opportunities you offer to the public to help you.
Keep communication open, be tolerant, respectful & appreciative.
I know that keeping a community alive is hard, I know that responding to any single message you receive can be challenging. However, I cannot stress it enough, if you want people to get involved to your mission you need to keep communication open, be responsive, adaptable, tolerant, respectful and appreciative.
When someone reaches out to you, respond. No matter how bad things are going right now, it’s important to let people know that you are there for their questions and concerns.
Show them your progress and that you don’t care only for donations and your mission but also for those helping your organisation overcome any setback and achieve its goals.
Also, when people donate something to your organisation, show your appreciation — a thank you note for example is a first step to the right direction.
Make them feel confident that their time, energy, staff and money are well spent to the right purpose.