Building Your Nonprofit’s Voice

April 20, 2016

Building Your Nonprofit's Voice

Your nonprofit’s voice is an important part of your brand. It’s not just the content you write, but the way in which it is expressed. This voice is essential for cultivating trust and lasting relationships between your organization and its supporters, as your organization’s voice will serve as a substitute for real-life conversation and communication. The familiarity of your nonprofit’s consistent voice, particularly if it is positive, helpful, and responsive, is instrumental in maintaining and building these relationships and in reinforcing your organization’s values and those behind it.

Here’s how you can get started developing your nonprofit’s voice:
  1. Define your style

    Articulate your nonprofit’s personality. What kinds of characteristics about your nonprofit do you want to convey? Knowledgable, helpful, friendly? Stick with your style, but evaluate it periodically and adapt it to fit your organization’s changing needs. Even if your organization generally deals with serious matters, it is okay to sometimes be lighthearted and funny, as this can be a great way to engage with new supporters. While your voice shows a regular perspective, your tone can change to fit the appropriate mood.

  2. Be consistent

    The voice of your nonprofit should be fairly consistent and recognizable across platforms: your website, social media, and your emails. Your unified voice will make your materials sound like they are all coming from the same place, and will help promote the branding, messaging, and familiarity of your organization.

  3. Prove you’re human

    Cultivate a sense of authenticity by representing your organization truthfully. This allows for the development of trust, which can be tricky over a computer screen. Avoid jargon and bland slogans, and instead try to convey your organization’s humanity by speaking to your audience as if you are talking to an individual face-to-face. When the situation arises, own up to mistakes or hurdles with grace. Finally, always respond promptly and thoughtfully to your supporter’s comments and questions.

Remember, this is your chance to show the world who your organization is at its core. What values does your nonprofit express through its unique voice? Share with us your experiences and expertise!

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