At HASA, our commitment to empowering the Deaf and hard of hearing community drives every aspect of our work. As a nonprofit dedicated to providing critical support and services, we understand that raising awareness about our mission is essential for our continued growth and impact. We also understand the very important work that our Board of Directors has in helping us fulfill this mission. In this blog, we will explore the pivotal role that a nonprofit Board of Directors has in increasing organizational awareness and how their involvement can make a significant difference.
The Board’s Vital Role
If you’re a nonprofit development leader, you’re well aware of the multifaceted responsibilities that come with this role. Engaging the Board of Directors is not just one of those responsibilities; it’s a strategic imperative. Board members play a crucial role in guiding the organization, making decisions about its financial future, and supporting fund development efforts. However, one often overlooked yet vital aspect of their role is increasing overall awareness about the organization.
A Multifaceted Approach to Awareness
When it comes to increasing organizational awareness, the Board of Directors can be instrumental in several ways. Here are some strategies that a typical Board of Directors can employ to help us reach a broader audience and extend our impact:
- Leveraging Their Networks: Board members often have extensive networks of friends, colleagues, and associates. Encourage them to introduce our development team and the Executive Director or CEO to these connections. Personal endorsements can be powerful in expanding our reach and a direct introduction or referral is irreplaceable.
- Social Media Advocacy: In today’s digital age, social media is a potent tool for spreading awareness. Board members can use their online platforms to highlight our mission, share success stories, and promote our events and initiatives. Offer a quick social media refresher at your next board meeting to ensure everyone is connected to the organization and its leaders and they know what your content strategy is.
- Hosting and Sponsoring Events: One very effective way that board members can increase awareness is through hosting private events or sponsoring your organizational events. These occasions present fantastic opportunities to shine a spotlight on the organization in an intimate environment. By sponsoring your events, board members not only contribute financially but also become engaged in the success of that event. Whether it’s a fundraising event, a community gathering, or a seminar, their involvement can generate significant awareness.
- Awards and Speaking Engagements: Board members can nominate your CEO or Executive Director or other key representatives for awards or speaking engagements at conferences, seminars, or industry events. Such recognition not only raises our profile but also positions us as thought leaders in our field.
Cultivating a Culture of Engagement
To harness the full potential of a Board of Directors in increasing organizational awareness, we must cultivate a culture of engagement and collaboration. Here’s how we can achieve that:
- Education and Training: Offer board members insights into the unique challenges and opportunities faced by nonprofits. Equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to effectively advocate for the organization. Offer training and insights on staff members, constituents and other board members. Ensuring they have a good elevator pitch is hugely important to helping them communicate the mission to their networks.
- Regular Updates: Keep board members informed about achievements, goals, new staff members and ongoing initiatives. When they are well-informed, they can more effectively communicate the mission and impact to others. Reviewing your annual report will help everyone with basic information and the ongoing organizational mission.
- Clear Expectations: Set clear expectations for board involvement in awareness-building efforts. Outline specific actions they can take and how their contributions can make a difference. Many nonprofit organizations create a board “report card” to help track and document board expectations. It’s very important to have this conversation at the beginning of their tenure as a board members so communication about the board position is clear.
- Recognition and Appreciation: Acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of our board members in increasing awareness. Publicly recognize their contributions and the positive impact they have on our organization. Try to get everyone together socially in person, not just virtually. In person recognition is so much more impactful and getting everyone together helps create long lasting relationships with all board members.
- Open Channels of Communication: Maintain open lines of communication between the board and our development team. Encourage board members to share feedback, ideas, and suggestions for improving our awareness efforts. Make sure your board meets and knows your development team. Introduce them at board meetings and include them in communication, when appropriate.
Measuring Impact and Celebrating Success
Increasing organizational awareness is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process. Therefore, we must establish methods to measure the impact of our awareness-building initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) might include website traffic, social media engagement, event attendance, and fundraising results.
Celebrating successes and milestones is equally important. Recognize the efforts of our board members and the entire team involved in these endeavors. Sharing success stories internally and externally can inspire continued dedication and enthusiasm.
At HASA, we are on a mission to empower the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Our Board of Directors is a vital part of our journey, and their active involvement in increasing organizational awareness has significantly amplified our impact. We’re grateful for everyone’s service to the HASA board and your participation.
If you’re a nonprofit development leader, you play a central role in nurturing the collaboration and communication between the Board of Directors and the organization. You help ensure that the board members have the resources and guidance they need to succeed in their advocacy efforts. And through your involvement, the organization will increase its awareness in the community and therefore help increase your fundraising efforts.
By Sarah Wise
Learn More About HASA
HASA connects people to their worlds and aids individuals in their ability to understand and to be understood. HASA has grown into an organization that serves more than 4,000 children and adults every year, helping them communicate more effectively. With programming both on our Baltimore campus and through community-based programming, we provide education, access, and medical support to anyone who needs it.
We envision a society where everyone can understand and be understood and where everyone is treated with integrity, compassion, and equity. Join us.