Make it easy for your fans to share information about your organization. Create “IMPACT” cards they can carry and hand out to others. (Click here to view sample IMPACT cards.) These cards should be business card or bookmark size so they fit easily in a wallet or purse. Tailor the message of the card for your intended audiences of clients, donors or volunteers – and be sure to include your contact information. Tie a group of 5-10 cards together and pass them out to your fans and friends encouraging them to share them freely.
Identify local celebrities, public figures and/or media personalities who share your mission, vision and values and actively solicit their endorsement. Investing time in building these relationships can pay large dividends. Begin this process by introducing your organization to them and gradually increasing their awareness through regular press releases and updates. Consider inviting them to tour your facilities. Though they may not respond to the first invitation, be persistent and keep providing them opportunities to engage with your organization.
Building partnerships within your community can enhance your service delivery and your reputation. Invest time connecting with other nonprofits, organizations, and service-minded individuals through both formal and informal networks. If they are well-aware of your programs – and results – it’s more likely they will share your story with others.
Do something dramatic for your cause – take extreme actions. For example, Bob Lee, a cancer survivor, decided to raise money for several nonprofit organizations he believed in and started gathering sponsors for riding his bike across America. He began generating buzz through press releases and an online blog. As people began hearing this amazing story, he quickly surpassed his goal of $65,000 and proudly raised almost $400,000 for his causes. (Click here to see Bob’s website.) In local communities, we have seen individuals sleep on the streets in an effort to raise money for the homeless or live on a billboard for weeks in order to raise awareness (and funding) for hurting children. The costs of these actions were minimal, but the results were huge.
Construct an exhibit that recreates the experience of your clients for others. Surround them with the images and stories of lives unchanged. This experience may be generated by posting the photographs and testimonies of your own clients in a dedicated area (a local church or organization may be willing to donate space for a 2-3 day event). If possible, provide visitors with the sounds (recordings) and sights (belongings or surroundings) of the experience as well. These sensory items will greatly enhance the experience for visitors and increase the impact it makes on each individual. And once an individual has been impacted by the experience, it is likely that they will share it with others. This type of exhibit is great for raising awareness of your cause and raising funds for your programs. For example, a local organization recently hosted an exhibit raising funds for children affected by AIDS. When visitors entered the exhibit, they became one of these children and were even given a name. They then walked through pathways filled with pictures and stories of the child’s life. Visitors were able to experience their pain and fear. At the end of the exhibit, the organization asked the question, “What will you do now?” Many visitors were so moved by the experience that they called their friends and encouraged them to visit as well.
WOMM has immense power to reach people missed by traditional media outlets. Use one or more of these strategies to stimulate a positive buzz for your organization through WOMM.