While there are several somewhat obvious differences between the nonprofit and for-profit world, that gap is narrowing considerably. One practice that is equally vital in both the for-profit and nonprofit world is community engagement. Community engagement may be even more important in the nonprofit world. Most nonprofits could benefit from the help of volunteers, most of whom will come from the local community. Also, some donors may be far more likely to donate to a local organization making a difference in their community than a national or global organization. Here are three ways that nonprofits can increase community engagement.
Participate in or host local events
From street fairs to harvest festivals to outdoor movie nights, attending community events is a great way to get your organization on people’s radar. Take out a booth and offer a fun game with inexpensive prizes or give away branded merchandise. Another great way to combine community outreach with mission goals is to host a fun fundraiser, such as a casino night or pancake breakfast. You can get to know the community and raise some money in the process.
Get to know your stakeholders
Chances are good you already have passionate ambassadors and avid volunteers. Sometimes, they may be wealthy donors, but in many cases, they aren’t. Too often, nonprofits give a great deal of attention to their wealthier donors and overlook those giving just as much in time, energy and passion. In many cases, your best volunteers will also be humble servants that don’t tend to draw attention to themselves but are also the lifeblood of your organization. Don’t just take the time to get to know them, also take every opportunity you can to let them know how valuable they are to the organization.
Forge strong relationships with other community leaders
Many nonprofits struggle with a poverty mentality in which they see other nonprofits and community organizations as competition. If you instead adopt the mindset that there is plenty to go around, you can forge strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the leadership of other organizations. Nonprofits and community organizations that partner together to accomplish vital work can achieve far more together than they can individually.