Yes, you read the title right.
But, you say – fundraising is everything! Development plans are everything! Fulfilling our mission is everything! Community impact is everything.
I still say: Messaging is everything.
Every day we are communicating with each other whether in person, online, handwritten notes, texts or imagery. There is not a single day that goes by in your nonprofit’s world where you are not communicating with someone. Can you do fulfill your mission without funding? No. Can you budget without funding? No. Can you increase your donor base or grants without a solid development plan? No. However, can you do any of the above without communicating your need for funding, your mission, and your impact as an organization? NO. At the end of the day, messaging reigns supreme.
We find many of our clients unintentionally communicate conflicting messages. The message on their website doesn’t match up with the message they are sharing with their donors. The data in their funding proposals doesn’t match up with the focus of their mission. The impact of their organization in the community is absent from most of their communications and/or what most people see is the cry for money versus the story behind why donating would be so incredible. Often it is because all of those on your team are so close to the cause they see the why as a no-brainer. Part of being a great communicator means stepping outside of what you know and stepping into what your audience knows.
Don’t assume that all your stakeholders speak your same language and the same acronyms and understand all the terms that are regular language to you. It’s worth examining if your audience understands the language you speak, and if the answer isn’t 100% yes, consider using messaging to both educate your audience and explain your terminology. Go back to the basics. Take the time to make sure you’re understood by your entire office.