Engaging Your Non-Profit’s Audience


We’re sure you’ve been there before, nonprofit leaders. Standing in front of a room full of board members struggling to keep their attention as you work through your meeting’s agenda. Or worse, speaking with donors who seem uninterested in your nonprofit’s work and the need for donations.

Regardless of the size or composition of your audience, one thing remains clear – engaging them is key to the success of your nonprofit. Finding a method to interest your audience in the material you’re presenting need not be an intimidating task. Something as subtle as changing the angle you’re presenting your information from, or simply the words you’re using when discussing your nonprofit, could be more than enough to illicit a positive response. Try a few of these suggestions to keep your nonprofit’s audience engaged.

Did You Know?

Rather than simply bombarding your audience with the same practiced elevator-speech to ask for donations, pleasantly surprise them with something they don’t know. Take the time to do your research and discover exciting news or insights that may make an impact on your donors’ propensity to give. Maybe there’s a new study out concerning an area your nonprofit is interested in helping. Maybe an independent group made an astonishing donation a few weeks ago. Communicate this exciting news to your donors and board members and you’ll be sure to win their attention.

Jump Right In

We live in an age of instant gratification. As consumers, when we want something we want it now, and it only makes sense that this attitude would bleed over into the way we perceive information. Rather than taking a few extra seconds to thank your audience for listening, be prepared to jump right into the thick of your information from the beginning. If you haven’t caught the attention of your audience within the first few moments, you may have lost them completely.

Talk About The End Goal

Talking about money is an uncomfortable business. It is an important, though limited resource and it can often be difficult to find a tactful yet effective way to encourage donors to give. Rather than focusing your conversation on the need for money, focus on what your nonprofit plans on doing with the money. Coming up with achievable goals and actions points, and then explaining those points to interested parties, will help you to better grab the attention of your donors and board members and encourage them to get involved.

Use Enticing Language

Encouraging donors to give is as much an art as it is a science. Though you need the researched and documented information to prove that your work is making a difference, the presentation of that information is crucial to your success. Using flat, dull, or uninspiring language to communicate with your audience, whether it be board members or first time donors, is a sure way to lose their interest. Make use of engaging language. Spice up your word choices with active, goal driven vocabulary.

Making use of a few simple changes to your methods of communication can work wonders on your nonprofit’s ability to attract and maintain donors. Try a few of the above changes to your communication strategy and see how confidence and enthusiasm about your nonprofit’s work begins to change.