Plan Now to Promote Year-Round
It’s a busy time of year! Summer volunteers and staff are arriving and, for some, the next time you get to take a deep breath will be Labor Day. That said, there’s an important element you need to be thinking about right now for the same reason that you’re crazy busy. What are you collecting now to help promote your organization year-round?
Come fall, it’ll be too late to take pictures, get video, have volunteers write down how they were impacted by their experience. It’ll be too late to have summer staff write down the stories of homeowners who were helped. Come fall, you need to be telling that story. Here are three things you’ve got to add to your to-do list this summer, despite the craziness of it all:
We’re not talking professional shots. You need shots of happy, smiling volunteers. Happy, smiling homeowners blessed by the work of your organization. Shots of youth leaders not pulling out their hair. Cameras are cheap but the photos you take this summer will be invaluable for telling your story throughout the year.
Write It Down.
From your volunteers to your staff to your homeowners, get everyone to write about their experience. It can be on notebook paper or an old laptop that’s three clicks away from biting the dust (so long as it’ll word process). Have volunteers tell the story of the people they served. Have staff write about volunteers’ lives being changed. No matter how many statistics you gather throughout the summer, a great friend of mine says wisely, “Facts tell. Stories sell.”
Take Steps Now to Stay In Touch.
Do you get e-mail addresses of volunteers? Do you have a Facebook page? Are you sending tweets they should follow? Tell them! Encourage your volunteers to “like” you (especially if they have cell phones with service). Get them plugged in now so you can keep the excitement of summer alive well into the holiday season and even into next spring. Their activity might be limited to just summer, but that doesn’t mean their excitement for your organization needs to be.
Summer comes and goes fast. Don’t let these opportunities to keep your service alive year-round pass you by in the chaos and excitement. Make a point to do it now and reap the rewards all year long.
Chris Manley is the co-founder of Engenius, a web design and online marketing agency in Greenville, South Carolina. He is also the co-founder of ReWiGo Ministries, a nonprofit serving elderly, disabled, and low-income people with accessibility improvements and emergency home repairs. He is the board chair for ReFrame Association as well. Chris lives in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and two young children. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.