Whether your goal is to raise money for healthcare, protect wildlife, or build water networks in 3rd world countries, all nonprofits share one common goal — growth. The bigger you are, the more powerful your mission statement becomes. And, nonprofits are tightly glued to their mission. But, most nonprofit growth strategies focus on the power of Facebook, Twitter, or other digital marketing avenues.
Those are great! But, how do you forge tangible relationships in your community? And how do you expand your nonprofit networks to grow locally?
Understanding Local Nonprofit Growth
There are two primary reasons that nonprofits look to achieve rapid local growth.
- They have a local mission.
- They have a local goal.
Growth isn’t all about getting as-big-as-possible. It can also be about forging valuable connections and influence in a small community. All nonprofits aren’t built the same. And there are plenty of nonprofit missions that are local. Maybe your nonprofit wants to grow within the local university. Or maybe your nonprofit has a goal to rebuild wildlife, and you’re attempting to preserve a particular breed of wildlife in a small community.
When you have a local mission or local goals, it doesn’t matter how big you are — you need local support. So, how do you get it?
4 Ways Nonprofits Can Grow Locally
1. Bust Out the Booth
How long has it been since you’ve sat at a booth? If you’re local, it may have been last week. But some national nonprofits haven’t set up a booth since they were still in the kernel stages of their growth strategy. Well, if you want to win locally, you need to bust that booth back out.
Farmers markets, community events, and local happenings are a great place to spread your message locally. 90% of people admit that small meeting places are their favorite way to interact with a person or brand.
Local markets and events are fantastic places to hand out flyers, engage with potential donors, and spread your message. It can also be a way to meet other nonprofits and forge meaningful connections with them. Harvard Business School claims that nonprofit-to-nonprofit networking can be more significant than donor networking for nonprofits that want to win in local communities.
2. Leverage Your Board
The first step to take during any growth planning for your nonprofit organization is to utilize your board. Oftentimes, board members have strong connections. And they may have connections that give you an edge when it comes to local growth within the community. Whether that’s businesses in the area that can assist you or local groups that you can join, your board can act as a guiding light to local community growth.
3. Be Personable
Nearly 100% of people agree that meeting in-person is critical for personal and business relationships. And the close rate for in-person meetings is around 40% — much higher than digital/remote meetings.
Finding ways to simply meet with the community is huge. You want to talk to everyone. 45% of donors are giving money to charities outside of their own country! Give them a reason to support something local. That shouldn’t be hard given that the average American supports 4.5 charities. You just have to find a way to wiggle your way into that list.
4. Join a Local Group
Meeting people one-on-one is great. And, those community events and local markets can be fantastic donor breeding grounds. But, what about something a little more... permanent?
Joining a local group is a surefire way to build webs of connections in a community with other local nonprofit organizations. Whether that’s a local group for nonprofits or even a local business group, these small, tight-knit groups have plenty of connections, an established community reputation, and the know-how to help you successfully market yourself within the community.