Fundraising for the Future
1 May 2012 at 5:03 pm
It’s paramount for organisations to engage their supporters as people, not just ‘funders’, the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘Building a Sustainable Future for the Third Sector’ Conference in Brisbane has been told.
Maritza Schafer, National Communications Manager for The Wilderness Society, addressed the Conference asking “How do you become, and remain, a relevant Not for Profit organisation in the 21st century?”
“To begin with, your story must be clear, consistent, concise and compelling,” she said.
“Learn to communicate with your audience in ways that are relevant to them,” she added.
Schafer focused on a variety of communication methods including traditional media (public relations and advertising), direct mail and events, as well as online, including social media, blogs, websites and online communities and forums.
“Cash is an outcome of what you are trying to achieve in the Not for Profit sector,” said Schafer.
“Be specific in what you are asking for, build and maintain relationships, and always say thanks,” she said.
Schafer believes the sector needs to capitalise on the opportunity to participate and interact with the media it consumes, and to create it for themselves.
“Talk with me, not at me; entertain me; and listen to me, are what people are asking for,” she said.
“A solid strategy requires goals to be set, authenticity and transparency, and frequent participation.”
Shafer asked who controls the interaction on social media.“No one, everyone, so get used to it.”
“The line between media and audience gets blurred, and the media production and interaction becomes richer and potentially more meaningful,” she said.
“Regular and relevant participation are key to utilising social media effectively.”
“Have a clear narrative, consider your mechanisms of engagement and concentrate on being visually attractive and entertaining,” she said.
Maritza Schafer worked with a number of US Not for Profits before relocating to Melbourne in 2011. She is currently National Communications Manager at The Wilderness Society. Schafer has extensive experience in promoting strategies for change. While in the US she served at several NGOs before launching PointsFive, a consultancy specialising in strategic communications and online publicity.