pexels-photo-1251833Engagement is key to increasing support for your nonprofit’s work. One way to encourage your donors, volunteers and advocates to feel more connected to your cause is to build an online community where supporters can converse with key members of your nonprofit, and, with one another.

The following strategies will help your nonprofit create a greater sense of belonging and purpose for all your stakeholders.

Concentrate on Forging Strong One-on-One Relationships

If you want to lead change in your community, your stakeholders must first trust you to be there, actively meeting their needs long-term. Look for ways to leverage social media channels and other communication platforms to encourage greater dialogue within your community. Use virtual hangouts, Twitter chats, Facebook Live and Periscope posts to interact with your supporters in real-time, regardless of where they might happen to be physically located and take your conversations to a global level.

Concentrate on consistency in your messages across all of your channels and focus on staying true to your values and mission. Regardless of which avenue you utilise, don’t be afraid to be honest with your supporters. Share your emotions in your nonprofit’s stories and talk about how your work impacts individual stakeholders in your community to increase connection and involvement.

Offer Mutually Beneficial Opportunities

What’s in it for your stakeholders when they support your organisation? If you want them to be fully engaged in your work, your relationships cannot be one-sided. Without volunteers, it would be impossible to accomplish much of the work that is completed in the nonprofit sector. When creating positions, don’t just focus on the work that you need to complete. Take into consideration whether your positions offer meaningful work that excites and interests your volunteers. Don’t just look at your volunteers as an unpaid source of labour; rather look for ways to fill their emotional need to do work that is worthwhile and fills them with a sense of purpose.

This strategy doesn’t just apply to your volunteers, however. Think about your fundraising campaigns and your organisation’s goals. Are you creating opportunities that allow your donors to feel that when they give to your NFP, they are giving to something greater than themselves?

Whether it’s a fundraising event or a petition that you want supporters to sign, don’t be afraid to share your vision and values with your stakeholders. Be ambitious and invite your volunteers, staff, donors and advocates to join you in helping your organisation. In doing so, you can make big strides by creating opportunities to generate highly visible and meaningful results!

Participate in and Host In-Person and Online Events

There is a natural rhythm of giving and taking in our most satisfying relationships. If you want your community to be fully engaged with your nonprofit, you must also invest the time and energy in supporting and developing your community.

Look for ways to become an active part of your community of stakeholders, on the local level. Join associations and affiliated groups whose members are NFP professionals who share your concerns and goals.

Leverage your stakeholders’ specialised skills, knowledge and experiences to learn more about the needs and concerns held by members of your community. Create programs and services that will address their concerns and meet their needs to build your credibility  and to become a “go to” resource for problem-solving.

Assemble a team of your most passionate stakeholders to act as brand ambassadors for your nonprofit. Encourage them to travel your community, both virtually and in person, to share your NFP’s stories and get others more interested and involved in your work.

Creating an engaged community isn’t just about creating relevant content and opportunities for your members. It’s about using communication to bring diverse groups of people together and creating a space where every member belongs.