Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Getting Noticed as a Non-Profit Organization: How Many Times Do You Need to Repeat Your Message?

One of the surprising things for most non-profit executives is to realize is how hard it is to get out their charity's name and message. Large corporation manage to buy visibility for their brands simply by purchasing large print ads, television advertising, radio spots or by dominating certain segments of the social media including ads on Facebook or other social networking sites. 

Audi R8 Big Game Commercial - Commander - Extended Cut
Audi R8 Big Game Commercial - Commander - Extended Cut
This, however is quite expensive. For example, in 2016 the 111.9 million viewers who tuned into the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl 50 were treated to no fewer than 62 commercials from 53 different advertisers. This level of participation is amazing with you consider that a tiny 30-seconds of air time cost a record $5 million.

Nevertheless, non-profit charities by and large cannot possibly compete for attention under these circumstances. Instead, their only realistic option if to choose their name, pick their winning slogan and then stick with it for a long-time. Only by consistently repeating their name and slogan will they ever begin to make a dent into the consciousness of their neighbors and potential donors. 

This is why I like repeating to my workshop participants one of the most important ideas I learned from working on political campaigns as a pollster and a campaign manager. Your prospect needs to hear your name and message at least six times before they start to remember it. Consequently, one of the clues that you are doing a good job of spreading your charity's name and message is that you will gradually get bored with it. As I like to suggest, it is only at the point where you are starting to get really bored with your message that your audience is finally starting to be impacted by it in a memorable way. 

How to Create Goals and Objectives for Your Grant Proposal: The Simple to Remember Tools of the Trade

One of the most pleasant moments in my Grant Writing Fundamentals course is when I cut through all the silliness associated with setting goals and objectives and provide the participants with a relevant and simple system for organizing their grant project in a manner that is appealing to the funders and relatively easy for you to supervise and manage. Goals are the easy part. Goals should be big, broad, vague dreams that motivate you, help you think big, and keep you inspired over the course of the year. "Every child will go to college," for example, is an illustration of a terrific goal. 

SMART Objectives
SMART Objectives

On the other hand, objectives are the complete opposite of goals. Objectives need to be very specific and detailed, the more specific and detailed they are the better it is for you and your grant application. In the video below, you will see an illustration of the standards for writing objectives that has worked for me. It is based on the acronym SMART. This stands for S-specific, M-measurable, A-achievable, R-realistic and T-timed.   

If you make sure that each of your SMART objectives contains each of the above features, then you will create realistic and persuasive objectives which will impress the funder. More significantly, such objectives will give you important management tools for implementing the grant later on. For example, you will be able to use these objectives to keep you and your staff accountable for implementing the promises you have made to the grant funder or to your other stakeholders.