Partners often cite that getting the word out about the resources they have is the toughest challenge.
Use the resources we've put together exclusively for you in this toolkit to help make a pathway forward in boosting awareness in community.
Do These Things to Build Promotion for Your Program
Create a strategic outreach campaign: This is an important piece; many surveys we've conducted with partners have indicated that the most successful approach to boosting awareness is to reach out meaningfully to community partners, either to establish initial connections or to use the connections that you might already have in your community.
This could mean a letter-writing (or email, or phone) campaign, or a mailing of flyers to selected organizations (such as nonprofit resource centers, local funders, and even state and federal congressional/senate reps). We have found that actual hard-copy letters work well because people so rarely get personal letters written to them anymore. You'd want to take care to tailor letters to the recipient, addressing how your resources will directly help them and their customers.
We also find that partners that go out into the community generally have greater success in increasing visibility for their programs. So, visiting universities, local resource centers, and possibly hosting a few orientations to the database offsite can really extend your visibility. For outreach to funders, it's important for the local grantmaker to see the value of your resources, and to perhaps refer their grantees (and rejected grantees) to your program as a way of getting further support.
Have regularly-scheduled programs: The success of this practice depends on the community need and the promotional effort put in, but having a standing session at your location once a week or a few times a month can gradually build attendance and awareness.
Host a panel or networking events: Alternative types of programming beyond the typical Foundation Center workshops, such as funder panels or networking events and mixers, can be a good way to bring new people in the door.
Promote your events widely on external calendars: Make a list of event calendars, both online and in your community, to regularly post your event to. On GrantSpace.org, we offer network partners the opportunity to post their events for free to the training calendar. Post your event on GrantSpace
Consider joint programming with another Funding Information Network partner: If you have or can make connections with a nearby network partner, you could either host a joint program together, or at the very least get advice from that nearby partner on what they do to achieve success. You can also reach out to network partners on the Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
Consider promotional giveaways: A Foundation Center book, 24-hour gift codes for Foundation Directory Online, or something else that your organization is willing to give away as a raffle, could provide incentive for people to attend your events and programs.
- Start collecting emails from those who visit or attend classes: This marketing practice underpins all of the above efforts; creating a database of contacts who have already visited your collection is an excellent way to ensure that you get repeat customers. Use surveys, feedback forms, or check-in sheets for your classes, and get people to sign in when they use your services. Consider putting out a newsletter or other relevant communication on a regular basis to maintain a connection with your audience.