Written communication in the form of fundraising charity auction invites, campaign emails, donation letters, sponsor postcards and thank you notes are an integral part of ensuring the success of your non-profit organization. In fact many groups fall short in their endeavors because they fail to develop and utilize a standardized voice. Find your voice by developing a specific writing style that your assigned committee member can use to represent your brand in a variety of situations.
What Does your Brand Tone of Voice Mean to Your Non-profit Organization?
It literal terms, your voice is the embodiment of your brand. Think about what it sounds like when you talk. Imagine the words that you choose to use, your tone and articulation, your style and attitude. All of these factors contribute to the character of your brand. When you talk about your group are you honest, straightforward, practical or something else? Establishing consistency within your verbal and written communications is one of the most important elements when it comes to establishing your branding. Your donors know exactly what to expect when they receive emails or other forms of written communication from you. By establishing the right voice, your donors will look forward to receiving communications and fundraising benefit auction invitations etc which in turn will ensure the continued success of your nonprofit group.
Characteristic of a Successful Non-Profit Organization; a Unique Voice
Think about the way and methodology that you use to talk about your organization to others. The way you verbally communicate gives people an indication of your group’s mission and culture. This will allow them to build a unique relationship with your brand. How do you transition your verbal communication in written communication?
• Begin by brainstorming with your committee members to think up a list of objectives that describe the character of your non-profit group. For example is your group serious, solemn or inspiring?
• Think of your group in the first person, how would you talk and act? Unanimously decide on your group’s attitude towards a wide array of topics to establish consistency and use those opinions to help guide you when engaging with people online via social media and email etc.
• Think of your written correspondence as an extension of the language and diction that you would use during verbal communications. Pay particular attention to the individual words and the structure of your sentences. For example do you choose words that are simple and direct or clever and witty? Think of your target audience to give you a reference when selecting your words.
• Base your voice on your values and beliefs to engage your target audience. You audience should be able to associate the mission of your organization through your unique voice.
Milestones to Consider When Developing a Voice
One way to think about developing a voice for your organization is to consider it a means to an end. Consider the general guidelines of your communications and customize those to the individual forms. For example exciting invitations to upcoming fundraising charity auctions, compelling emails soliciting donations, informative blog postings and brief social media updates. Begin with a purpose and establish a goal. Is your intent to be informative or entertaining? Are you building a network of new supporters or are you addressing seasoned veterans? Tailor your voice to fit the audience and occasion. While your style of communication can inform your target audience about your message, your manner of communication whether it be email, blog posting or through regular postal service should dictate how you manage your voice. For example you will want to modify your sentence structures to fit the type of written correspondence. As a general rule you can expand your written communication and sentence structure through email as opposed to a short tweet through social media.
Hire a Freelance Writer or Assign a Committed Volunteer to Be Your Voice
Filter the tone of your communication to fit the correspondence. Are you asking for donations? Use your voice to convey an authentic tone that is both honest and heartfelt. Use informal correspondence when addressing volunteers but keep correspondence with your high dollar donors both personable and polite. Practice consistency by appointing one individual within your organization to take charge and format all forms of written communication. Depending on size and scope, you may even want to consider hiring a professional writer to meet your goals by reaching out in the most advantageous and consistent way to as many individuals as possible.