This past week a brand new Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop 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 followed by lines for blocks, people who drive hundreds of miles and even police control teams who have to manage crowds. Now if you’re not familiar with Krispy Kreme, they are the legendary doughnut maker from the south best known for its secret recipe, yeast-raised, and sometimes warm doughnut.
For some of their most loyal followers, Krispy Kreme is a religion. Die hard fans know that when the red “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign goes on, people flock like a moth to a flame. Kids, parents, working class and grandparents all know what the red light means and the response that follows. I think you get the idea here, people love Krispy Kreme and the buzz it has created around its brand.
As I watched the hype and saw photos on Facebook and Instagram, I began to think and wonder, can good nonprofit organizations have the same hype and loyal following? Is there a red light that when turned on people will come flocking to the front door to help or give donations to? Probably not, but I do think well-run nonprofits and churches can have some good practices to stay “hot” and “fresh” with their followers, donors, and volunteers base. Hopefully, your community benefit organization is giving away more than a 180 calorie doughnut, something more important or valuable like making others lives better through the work of your mission. With just a couple of weeks left in the year, I would like to suggest a few simple reminders that might help in keeping your organization and message “Hot and Fresh”.
Keep telling stories – The most powerful tools in your toolbox are the stories you can tell about the people or the difference that is being made in a community by the work of your organization. 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 and 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, but talk to them and connect with as many people as you can. 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 with your brand. 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 or extra programs. A good friend of mine said it this way, “don’t chase the money”, rather, stay true to who you are and the mission of your organization.
I will admit that our office recently had some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and they were really good. Hopefully, as you begin to wrap up your shops for this fiscal year you are having success and staying “fresh” — and — building friendships, donations, and awareness for your nonprofits and churches. Happy Holidays!