We all have a powerful communications resource right in front of us—our colleagues and board members. But most of us look right past them.
Here are four compelling reasons—backed up by the kind of research findings nonprofit decision makers adore—to launch your team of board and staff messengers a.s.a.p.:
1) There’s never enough time, talent or budget to complete everything we need to do
Whether you’re the solo marketer or fundraiser in your organization, that’s just part of your job, or you’re one of a team of five or even ten, you tell me the same thing. You know what you need to do but can’t push beyond limited time and budgets.
2) Your colleagues are already discussing your organization—a lot
Like you and me, your colleagues work long and hard—an average of 47 hours/week, according to PR-firm Weber-Shandwick’s research report on employee messengers.
That’s a huge chunk of our waking hours, so it’s no surprise that we talk about our workplaces and our days there. But I was amazed to learn just how frequently employees discuss their employers on social media. According to the report:
- 50% post messages, pictures or videos
- 39% have shared praise or positive comments
- 16% have shared criticism or negative comments
- 14% have posted something about their employer that they regret.
3) But 42% of them can’t accurately describe what your organization does
Your colleagues and board members are spreading the word, but some of them are sharing the wrong word—incorrect or inconsistent information about your organization, its work, and impact—according to the Weber-Shandwick study.
That’s disastrous, because….
4) Incorrect or inconsistent messages diminish trust, create doubt and thoroughly confuse the people you’re striving to engage and activate
It’s all too easy to dismiss such mis-messaging as neutral or a one off. Please don’t.
We live in a stressful, uncertain era that feeds skepticism and defensiveness. On top of that, we’re pummeled by messages 24/7, requiring us to filter content for sheer survival. As a result, the only way to connect is to make it easy for people to “get” our organizations’ value and impact quickly and memorably.
That’s why inconsistent and incorrect messages are damaging. They’re confusing to those who know (or thought they knew) your organization but hear conflicting information over time. And they‘re unlikely to engage prospects’ interest and support, as errors and inconsistency diminish trust and breed doubt. Add in social media channels that have exponentially boosted reach and amplification, and that’s trouble.
Chances are this is your organization’s status quo, and it’s likely to seem overwhelming. But there is a doable solution that’s far more than a fix…
Everyone on your team can learn to deliver powerful and consistent messages, and to solicit and share valuable input so vital to your strengthening your programs, marketing, and ultimate impact. I urge you to launch—ask, train, support, and thank—your team of passionate organizational messengers.
Let’s join forces to build your skills and confidence in this high-potential, but significantly underused, approach. Look for my upcoming posts: I’ll guide you, step by step, through building your staff and board messenger team.
We’re so much stronger together.