pexels-photo-1061580Engagement is a popular buzzword in the for-profit sector, but it’s not just for businesses wanting to improve their relationships with employees and customers. When nonprofits fully engage with their members, they deepen their ties with the people who provide the reason for their existence! Communications are open, occur in both directions, and improve the value that members receive while enabling NFPs to gain valuable information and insight so that they can improve their performance and create a larger, and more positive, impact in their service communities. The following strategies can help your NFP improve engagement with its members.

Have a Plan to Encourage Engagement Through Each of Your Communication Channels

When your members interact with your NFP through its various channels, is it a seamless experience? Can your members count on being able to stay up-to-date with your nonprofit’s happenings, regardless of which method of communication that they choose to reach out to you? Can they depend on getting excellent advice and other service?

One of the first steps to improving your engagement is using your communication channels to build a strong brand identity for your NFP. Create a strategy to reach out to your members through each of your communication channels, and ensure that your members are receiving reliable information, in an easy to use and understand format. Take the time to investigate how your members prefer to communicate with you, and which types of information they prefer to consume via each of these channels.

Establish a robust database that tracks preferred communication methods of your members such as key demographics, the amount and frequency of donations, and other information about their interactions with your nonprofit. Make sure that you are using these channels and your member’s communication preferences to reach out to them on a regular basis with updates and essential details.

Make it Easy for Members to Navigate Your Site!

Your NFP’s website should serve as the central portal for members to find helpful information, pay dues, donate, volunteer and advocate for your cause. Nothing drives away members and other visitors to your site faster than pages that are slow to load or having a layout that’s counter-intuitive and difficult to search and browse. Invest in professional design to ensure that your site is attractive to look at and easy to navigate. It should also be optimised for mobile use to ensure that everyone has the same enjoyable experience on your site regardless of the device that they use to connect.

Segment Your Target Audience and Create Fresh Content that Appeals to Each Segment

Many nonprofits take a “one size fits all” approach to creating content for their members. The truth is that each of us is an individual, with our own tastes, preferences and needs. Not everyone will need or want to consume the same content, so segment your target audience and create content that appeals to each segment to increase the usefulness and enjoyment that your members experience while navigating your website, as well as browsing your other social media channels.

Encourage Two-Way Communication and Active Conversations

Start conversations and encourage members to participate by using all your social media channels to alert your supporters when you have fresh, new content for them to view. Ask questions, post breaking news, or ask for opinions, tips, or other advice to stimulate conversation. Ask your members to support your cause by signing up and sharing their support on their own social media channels. Enable alerts so that you receive notification when a member or other visitor to one of your website or social media comment or otherwise interacts with your posts; and, always respond promptly. Ask a question or make an open-ended comment to encourage the conversation to keep going.

Tell Your Stories and Share Them on the Right Social Media Channels

Not every story should be shared in the same format on every form of social media. For example, Twitter Tweets are best for sharing breaking news, our calling attention to one specific piece of information, such as a challenge during a fundraising event, or, the release of research that impacts your work. Facebook is better for longer posts, and for encouraging your supporters to create their own fundraising challenges to support your event. Instagram and Pinterest are best for visual stories that can convey the importance of your work in a mere glance at an image. Make sure that you are telling your nonprofit’s stories in ways that work best for each type of social media that you use. Rather than sharing the exact same post on each form of social media, tell the same story in multiple ways, in a manner that makes the best use of each channels specific benefits and advantages to encourage greater engagement with your cause.