This past week a brand new Krispy Kreme opened in our community. Much like many of these openings across the country, there were long lines and lots of local fanfare about this popular doughnut chain. I have heard stories of people who wait overnight for an opening of a new store, or drive hundreds of miles to visit, and stand in line for blocks – all for a fresh doughnut. Sometimes even police control teams have to manage crowds.
If you’re not familiar with Krispy Kreme, they are the legendary doughnut maker from the south, best known for their secret recipe, yeast-raised doughnut. For some of their most loyal followers, Krispy Kreme is a religion. Die hard fans know when the red “Hot Now” sign goes on, people flock like a moth to a flame. Kids, parents, and grandparents all know what the red light means and the response that follows. You get the idea. People love Krispy Kreme and the buzz it has created around its brand.
Nonprofit Best Practices
As I watched the hype and saw photos on Facebook and Instagram, I began to wonder if good nonprofit organizations have the same hype and loyal following. Is there a light you can turn on so people will come flocking to the front door to help or donate? Probably not. But I do think well-run nonprofits have some best practices to stay fresh with their followers, donors, and volunteers base.
Your organization is probably providing more than a 180-calorie doughnut. More than likely you are doing something valuable, like making other people’s lives better through the work of your mission. With just a couple of weeks left in the year, I would like to suggest some simple reminders to help keep your organization and message fresh.
Keep Telling Stories
The most powerful tools in your toolbox are the stories about the difference your organization is making in your community and the people who have been impacted. Don’t talk about yourself as much as those who are helping to make it possible, such as your donors and volunteers. Use social media, email, and as many ways as possible to tell stories that tie back to your organization.
Talk To Your Donors
One of the most simple yet effective things you can do as a nonprofit leader or employee is pick up the phone, or get out of the office and talk to people. Listen to your donors and volunteers, check in with them, and thank them. Don’t just ask them for money. Talk to them, and connect with as many people as you can, because if others are excited about your organization, they will spread the word.
Stay Focused And Stick To Your Brand
When you go to Krispy Kreme, you won’t find burgers and milkshakes. You go for the doughnuts because that is what they are known for. The same is true for your organization. Stick to what you are good at and what donors are giving to. Don’t get caught up in what others are doing and be tempted to add more work, extra programs, or change your nonprofit’s branding on a whim. A good friend of mine said, “don’t chase the money.” Rather, follow nonprofit best practices, which means to stay true to who you are and the mission of your organization. And as you begin to wrap up this year, hopefully you are staying fresh, and having success building friendships, and raising donations and awareness for your nonprofit.