- Mission and vision –Organizations typically have a mission and vision, the overarching compasses for their work. Does every staff member, board member, and key volunteer know yours? Does your strategic plan and/or work plan align with your mission and vision, and do your staff, board members, and volunteer committees understand how their area’s tactics align with furthering your mission and vision?
- Key messages – It can be helpful to develop an “elevator” speech—a 30 second snapshot of what your organization actually does—its programs, why they are needed, and what they achieve. Those who are closest to the organization often find it is difficult to focus their explanation without delving into greater detail about the organization’s history or their personal interests (which, when appropriately shared, can give life to the mission). It is important to engage your key constituents in a process of focusing your key messages, learning them, and practicing applying them. Create a short list of key messages which may be customized based and expanded based on the audience. Review and refresh these key messages from time-to-time. Test, share, and practice them with your core constituents, and make sure they are integrated into your organization’s key communications vehicles—such as the website, marketing materials, and press releases.
- Refined opportunities for support – After establishing your organization’s key messages, it is important to ensure all of your staff members, board members, and lead volunteers can articulate refined opportunities for philanthropic and volunteer support. Succinctly and specifically identifying the need(s), how your organization addresses them, and why and how support is needed is crucial. Creating a case for support, white paper, or even a one-page overview of opportunities are good forums in which to do so. For ideas and helpful tips on how to approach a case for support, refer to Juli Knutson’s blog Developing Your Case for Support – Preparation is Everything!.
Taking some time to complete these elements can help position your organization to be successful in building awareness, maintaining loyalty, and securing additional financial support.