Can I ask you 2, very important questions? Ok, here goes:
#1 – Does your organization need more ticket sales/class registrations/etc.?
#2 – Do you need more engagement on your social media accounts and at in-person events to help you keep patrons and donors interested?
You likely answered ‘yes’ to both of these, since both are major objectives that most nonprofits are working toward constantly. And if you’re not getting the results you want and you or someone on staff doesn’t have hours to devote to data analysis and research into marketing techniques, you likely have no idea what’s wrong.
Let me help.
6 Reasons Your Engagement Efforts Could be Missing the Mark:
- No overarching strategy
- Scattershot approach to individual content or marketing pieces
- No consistency
- Lack of understanding of what your patrons & donors really want
- No calls to action
- You aren’t taking the initiative to engage with them first
I would bet that some of those hit home and you found yourself nodding while you read them. Ready to fix it? Good, keep reading.
4 Ways to Boost Engagement & Switch Crickets for Clapping:
Engagement Boost Strategy #1 – Do Your Research
It’s entirely possible that you don’t have a good understanding of what your patrons and donors want. Yes, I know your organization has a mission. But there’s a million different ways you can deliver that mission and in order to truly engage with your audience, you need to figure out exactly what kind of experience they want to have. And then you need to create it.
But I’m definitely not advocating that you fumble around in the dark until you stumble upon a magical combination of efforts that people suddenly love. Rather, I encourage you to ask them what they want. Survey your audiences and donors to see what they love and what they wish you did. Talk to people at events and ask their opinions (people love to give opinions). Go to other events, even ones that don’t seem related to what you do, and observe what they do that everyone seems to love. How can you replicate it or adapt it for your organization?
Also look at best practices, successful models, and other organizations around the country who are having great success or getting lots of recognition. Again, they don’t have to do what you do. Almost everything can be adapted. Just go talk to them. Find out what they do, why they do it, and how.
Once you’ve done your research then you can start thinking about how best to implement what you’ve learned.
Engagement Boost Strategy #2 – Commit to Consistency
Consistency is key in basically every facet of life, and this is no exception. Whether you’re talking about your social media strategy, the experience you offer to patrons who come to your events, the way you thank donors, or how you gather feedback from the community you have to show up. In exactly the same way every time. As frequently as possible.
Yes, I know that sentence structure was awful, but it was for emphasis. No, I don’t write grants this way.
Use social media engagement as an example. I recommend creating a content schedule for how many times each month you are going to post to social media, what you will post, and how you will track the engagement you are getting. Set aside time in your calendar to engage with those who like or comment on your posts.
And this is not limited to social media – you should plan out and schedule all the things you do to boost engagement so that you ensure consistency. And you don’t have to live on social media to do this. Take a few hours per month to plan it all out, then schedule it in a program like HootSuite, and go on your merry way ‘til next month.
Engagement Boost Strategy #3 – Create an actual Strategy
Strategy is so important and it goes hand in hand with my recommendations for consistency listed above.
You should have an overarching strategy for increasing engagement that ropes in social media platforms, live events, marketing, donor communications, and anything else your organization does.
This strategy should include scheduling out how and when you will do each task, what the goals are, and should include some buffer time for you to engage more deeply with people if the opportunity presents itself. Include time also to analyze your results and edit or create new materials if you see an opportunity to engage with people in the way they want.
Engagement Boost Strategy #4 – Ask them to Engage
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you have to ask.
If you have an amazing conversation with a patron after a show, don’t leave it at that. Ask them to fill out a survey or ask if they would be willing to be featured on your org’s blog. If you write a social media post, don’t end the post without asking them to do something next, like share it with their own friends and followers.
It’s a well-known feature of human psychology that we like to be told what we should do next. And if we aren’t told, we are likely to do nothing at all. So tell them what action you want them to take:
- Buy a ticket
- Share the post
- Fill out the survey
- Sign up to volunteer
- Increase their annual giving
It doesn't matter what it is. Just make sure it aligns with your engagement goals, that you’ve made it easy for them to complete, and that you only ask for one thing at a time.
These suggestions just scratch the surface of what you can do to increase engagement.
If you liked this post, please share with your friends on social media (you see what I did there?).
Continue building your knowledge with my
‘3 Hacks to Increase Social Media Engagement’ guide.
Just click the image below.