Hi all! This brief article is going to serve as an introduction to a 6-part mini-series on Outreach Strategy for nonprofits. For those that haven’t listened to it already, I recently did a podcast episode with Steve from Nonprofit Ally, and a significant chunk of the conversation was about how I have done outreach for the nonprofit organization that I started. After talking more with Steve, we decided that I should contribute some posts for the site, and that is how this mini-series idea came to be. I hope to foster questions and conversation about how outreach is a crucial part of a nonprofit’s growth. So feel free to add comments and questions below.
I’ve given each of the 6 steps a simple name, and they are listed below:
- The Idea
- The Decision
- The Ask
- The Preparation
- The Meeting
- The Follow-up
First, we will dive into ‘The Idea’. Every nonprofit has to start from somewhere, and generally that place is in the mind of a motivated individual. We will talk about at what point should you begin to consider doing some form of outreach. How much do you need to have accomplished, or at least planned?
Second is ‘The Decision’. This section is about the crucial step where you decide who you are trying to contact. Each nonprofit is going to have a different set of potential outreach candidates, and deciding who to contact, and when, is important. We will not only look at what organizations and businesses to contact, but also WHO specifically to reach out to.
‘The Ask’ will be the third step. Here we will explore how to reach out to people once you have decided who to contact. How should emails be formatted? When should you send a follow-up email if they have not responded? Should you simply call them? How do you get a face-to-face? All these questions will be answered in this section, along with even more information.
The fourth step is ‘The Preparation’. The main question we will discuss is, what do I do before the meeting? Everything from doing research to building a presentation will be mentioned.
The fifth step is what many people will consider the most important (and for some, the most challenging). ‘The Meeting’ will talk about what you need to do in order to have a successful interaction with your outreach connection. I will expand on this, but a major key is to treat EVERY meeting with equal importance.
Finally, we will reach the sixth step, ‘The Follow-up’. Making sure to build on your budding relationship is of vital importance. We will discuss what you should do after the meeting, including what to all say in a follow-up email. Depending on how the series has gone, I will include a conclusion either in the 6th section, or in a separate article.
I am excited to share my experiences, and hope that you can take something I say and use it to benefit your organization. The nonprofit sector is growing, and part of that is due to the ability to share knowledge. With that said, I am always learning, and hope to also gain knowledge from people who read this series and have additional comments or thoughts about outreach. I am looking forward to starting this series, and I hope many of you choose to follow along!
Check out my profile page for more articles that I have published.