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Boost your nonprofit’s community presence

If you run a nonprofit organization, you may feel your very existence serves and engages the community—and that’s true. Whether your mission is to provide food for the hungry, offer support services for families, empower and educate local children, or some other goal, you are certainly doing your part for the community.

But how many people who live in your area truly know what your organization does? Would there be immediate recognition if your name came up? If not, then perhaps you need to spend some time upping your community engagement strategy. The following are six ways you can get started:

  1. Participate in local events. If a local event offers booths for vendors or community information, make it a point to attend and put together an eye-catching display that conveys your mission. Consider offering a fun activity for booth visitors, but make sure you take proper precautions to keep participants safe. If you can offer something for people to take home that has your name on it, all the better.

  2. Engage with local service clubs and organizations. Service clubs and organizations, chambers of commerce, local foundations and nonprofit membership groups are often well-established and respected organizations within their communities. Consider becoming a member of one or inquire about speaking opportunities to get plugged in and help gain greater visibility for your organization and its cause among local community and business leaders.

  3. Provide value to leaders and community members. Seek out opportunities to be a resource for local leaders. For example, find out if your local school needs organizations to volunteer for a career day or some other school event. Once you show that you aim to do good in your community, your local leaders will shout your organization’s name from the rooftops!

  4. Develop and schedule online content. It is not enough to just have a website. Ideally, you will be sending out regular email blasts, posting on your blog at least once a week, and maintaining a vigorous social media presence. By constantly pushing out new content, you will be putting your name in front of people in your community, which will make you top of their mind when they consider picking a partner for a project.

  5. Offer classes for the community. Educational programs not only involve community members of all ages, but they can also be a revenue source for your organization. Parents, in particular, are always looking for courses in which they can enroll their children, and some community groups may welcome opportunities to learn about different topics.

  6. Involve ambassadors in spreading the word about your organization. Ambassadors are people who truly believe in your mission—and who aren’t afraid to talk to anyone they meet about it. Word of mouth is a wonderful way to get community engagement, and to involve people who might not otherwise know what you do.

Engaging your community can only benefit your organization in the long run. Brainstorm with your leaders to see if you can make any of the above ideas work for you.

To access additional information, resources, tips and more for nonprofit and human services organizations, visit