Recently, I asked my readers to describe their nonprofit’s personality in three words and I got some interesting responses. Several of my readers emailed me privately to say that they really didn’t think their nonprofit had much of a personality at all. If you are in that boat, here are 7 ways to show more personality.
1. Write in the first and second person as much as possible.
When you refer to yourself and your organization as I and We, and your readers as You, you’ll naturally write in a much more friendly, personable tone.
2. Let us know who’s doing the writing.
Faceless nonprofits aren’t much fun to support. Let us see the real staff behind the nonprofit, who are doing the work we all care so much about. It’s as simple as including a byline (where possible) on your articles and blog and identifying who is updating your Twitter feed and Facebook pages.
3. Express an opinion.
Don’t be afraid to take a stand. Point out what and who is right, and what and who is wrong (or at least heading in the right or wrong direction, if you need to be more diplomatic about it). People look to nonprofits as trustworthy leaders, so show some leadership by pointing the way.
4. Share some of the downs along with the ups.
Sure, you should focus on successes more than failures, but it’s those downs that often reveal the most about our character and values — in other words the real personalities of our organizations. Nobody likes a perfect know-it-all, so why should your organization pretend to be one?
5. Make us laugh (or at least smile).
Humor is one of the quickest ways to bond people together. Kerri Karvetski and I presented a webinar called Funny Ha Ha! Using Humor in Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising. Humor is a fabulous way to let your personality shine through.
6. Tell more stories.
Storytelling is an inherently human and personal experience. So when you tell more stories about the real people involved in your organization, whether as beneficiaries or supporters, your organization feels more personable too.
7. Decide who you want to be when you grow up.
Even if you don’t feel you have a clear organizational personality now, pick a few characteristics to aspire to. Let those drive your marketing.