Julia Patrick, CEO of the American Nonprofit Academy, shares her insights about the importance of nonprofits effectively communicating their missions and activities to the community, underscoring the importance to build awareness, foster collaborations, and secure support. The conversation looks into the reasons behind this need for improved communication and practical steps to achieve it.
Julia explained that her motivation to address this issue arose from her experiences in distributing prestigious funding opportunities. She found that seasoned nonprofit professionals often lacked a comprehensive understanding of what various nonprofits were doing in their community, even though they acknowledged their positive impact. Co-host Jarrett Ransom adds that missions and programs can change over time, making it crucial for organizations to keep their communities informed about their evolving roles.
Julia introduced the concept of a “leadership list” – a curated database of stakeholders, opinion makers, community leaders, partners, vendors, and more. This list serves as an asset for marketing and communication, helping nonprofits stay connected with key figures in their community and share their stories effectively.
The interview also explored the role of board members and executive leaders in promoting the organization’s mission within the community. Julia encouraged the nomination of these individuals for community awards to raise the profile of the nonprofit and attract potential donors and collaborators.
Additionally, Julia discussed the significance of a fact sheet summarizing key impact metrics and fast facts about the organization. This sheet can be shared digitally, posted on the website, or distributed in print to help control the narrative and ensure accurate information reaches the community.
In a surprising twist, Ransom proposed using email signature blocks to link to the fact sheet, providing an additional avenue for community members to access essential information about the nonprofit.