A very nice woman called me last week. She has a non-profit that brings wellness and holistic resources to low income, homeless and/or battered women. While she had successfully raised the first round of money from friends and family, she needed to widen the net. She was introduced to me, because a. I built a network. b. I’m South Asian, as was she.
I asked, “Are you or the non profit listed on any social media?” I also did a cursory search before the call.
“No. I guess it’s not my thing.”
“If you had not told your friends and family about the cause and asked for money, would you have gotten the first round of funding?
Here’s the thing. “It’s not who you know. It’s who else knows what you know.” I steal those words from former LadyDrinks guest speaker Kelly Hoey. Widening the net for new sources of money is a sound idea. But if there is no digital footprint telling folks about you, how will you find them? How will they find you?
More than a century ago, cattle ranchers used branding irons to indicate which animals were theirs. As the cattle moved across the plains on their way to Chicago slaughter houses, it was easy to figure out which ranches they were from because each head of cattle was branded.
There are a zillion non profits today. What do you stand for? What are your values? Who do you help? How do you change the lives of the women who come seeking help? Why are you the expert to do the helping?
There lies the brand. The identifying mark on the side of the cow.
Then there is the communication for people to know about it.
I’m a fan of communication that adds value. A simple place to start for this non profit may be sharing tips on self care and managing anxiety in a time of quarantine. Personally, I could use some holistic help for my burgeoning grey hair. I read articles on how to do it myself and the chemicals listed in L’oreal Excellence Creme makes me squirm. A little article on my natural options are welcome.
You may not break through to everyone with your messaging. But then again, you shouldn’t want to. Your target audience lives, reads, breathes, vacations, and spends time reading in certain places. Figure out where that is. And then communicate there.
During this pandemic, let folks know if you are open or closed as a business. How are you keeping customers — and employees safe? I read that a restaurant in North Carolina is sending a bar of soap with all its takeout orders. A cheeky way to remind folks to wash their hands.
The tony Sally Hershberger salon, like many, can’t see customers. They are mixing up hair color kits for pickup. Acker Merrell Condit, the wine store, is hosting virtual wine tastings. One of the members of my women’s initiative is a comedian. Her kid’s dentist hired her to do a ‘set’ for his patients. He missed seeing his patients and wanted to offer something light to bring everyone together. How do I know all this? Because I read about it. Digitally.
When the dust settles. When this is all over. When the cattle arrive in Chicago, what will folks remember about you?
The soap. The haircolor kits. The virtual wine tastings. The dentist who missed his patients. And the brands that communicated that it was all available to me.