There is no question the mission of The Salvation Army, “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination,” is an impactful statement of purpose to serve those in greatest need around the world.
But how does the mission translate to actual changes in the real world? Recently, several prominent community leaders and donors shared feedback with me during a capital campaign feasibility study. It was a disconcerting response: they didn’t know what the organization did locally. In fact, one prominent community leader responded in a recent survey with a question… “What are they really doing here?”
To be frank, no one wants their best donors to ask this question. This is a big deal. It can be prevented. The only way to really prevent a problem though is to understand it.
Is Your Community Aware of How You Help?
Could your Area Command or Corps be in this same boat?
Since TSA officers are transferred from one corps to another frequently, building long-term relationships with leaders and donors in your city can become difficult. The responsibility to raise awareness in the community about The Salvation Army’s brand and services really rests on the Advisory Board and Development Staff.
How you build the Area Command or Corps awareness in the community now will determine the significance of major donor and volunteer support. You will find this more evident when you come to a point of needing to raise significant financial resources for an annual fund or capital campaign.
4 Ways to Engage Your Community Before Your Capital Campaign
We understand the difficulty of raising community awareness of your Area Command or Corps. Here are four ways to increase community awareness before a capital campaign by building relationships with your major donors and community leaders.
- Create and Implement a Communication Plan – Creating an effective communications plan is vitally important. There are a number of ways to communicate the message of the mission without spending a lot of resources in an advertising campaign. These may include:
- Public Service Announcements (PSAs). Most local radio and television stations allow for a certain amount of airtime for nonprofits to share how they are impacting the community throughout the year. These are typically free of charge.
- Local Newspapers. Despite social media, local newspapers still have their place in the local market. Their circulation can still run around tens of thousands. Those picking up these newspapers are most often looking for things to do or organizations where they can serve in the community.
- Social media. Whether using Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, providing volunteer opportunities for community members to engage is a great way to spread the word about the organization.
- Churches and civic organizations within the community. Consider speaking at a church who has provided volunteers for the Red Kettle Season. These are institutions who believe in giving back and will generally have a large congregation to hear how The Salvation Army is making a difference in the community.
Let Ambassadors Lead the WayEngaging advisory board members and top donors to connect their family, friends, and colleagues to The Salvation Army are one of the best practices any nonprofit can do. At DB&A, we believe encouraging advisory board members and top major donors to host Home Briefings where a small group gathers at an ambassador’s home – typically no more than 20 to 24 people – where you have the opportunity to present the ministry’s case and connect with potential ministry partners. It’s a great way to share the vision of The Salvation Army and raise new financial support.
Get Involved In The CommunityParticipate in community activities which provide community members and leaders an opportunity to learn more about what The Salvation Army does. Consider joining civic clubs such as, The Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, and Rotary Club. When your staff and advisory board members start engaging in community activities under The Salvation Army’s name it will allow community members and leaders to understand more about the vital needs you meet for the poverty-stricken and homeless in the area.
Create Meaningful Volunteer OpportunitiesCommunity members will start to rally around the mission and vision of The Salvation Army once they have experienced meaningful volunteer opportunities where they engage with those who need your services and see the difference you are making in real lives.
Let’s talk about more ways you can raise community awareness of your corps before a capital campaign. Contact us today to get started >>