Using content to show your impact, whether it be through videos, a blog, images, interactive website pages, or downloadable guides or brochures, is becoming more and more important to your current and future supporters. Even Charity Navigator is adjusting its rating system to take into account how impact is reported on and communicated to supporters and the general public.
We've talked a lot about how you can use content, but we've gotten a lot of questions from followers on why organizations need to make a content strategy a priority.
Here are four simple -- but important -- benefits of using content to show impact and help increase awareness, support, and funds.
Benefit #1: Content answers the questions of curious strangers.
When you're communicating with brand new supporters, they're looking for more information about what your organization does, why your mission is what it is, and how successful you've been in the past. They also want to know what their contribution will mean and who or what they will impact.
As an example, charity: water has a page on their website called "Why Water?"
On this page, you'll see a video titled "Water Changes Everything." It's a three-minute video that explains the problem charity: water is trying to solve, how they do it, and why it's important. This video is easily shareable, it's clear, and it's engaging.
As you scroll down the page, they go into more detail about “Why Water?”, including the impact on health and sanitation:
The implications water has on women and children:
The impact water has on economics and communities:
As well as their solution to the problem of providing clean water to people around the world:
Providing a page like this for you organization can really answer a lot of questions a prospective member, volunteer, donor, or fundraiser has about your organization and its work.
Benefit #2: Content highlights the achievements of you and your constituents.
It's easy to focus on your work in your content, but don’t forget to talk about your supporters, as well. Showing how individuals support and impact your mission outside of your staff and volunteers can really connect outsiders to the cause and show them that they can make an impact, as well.
Charity: water has a page on their website about their water projects where they tell stories about their partners in the field, families, and individuals impacted by clean water -- as well as those that give up their birthdays to fundraise for the cause.
Showing the breadth and depth of your supporters and everyone involved in achieving the mission can really help connect new people to the cause as well as keep current and past supporters up to date on your work.
They also have an entire page dedicated to their videos, telling stories of every campaign, each year’s successes and even thanking supporters.
Benefit #3: Content allows you to build trust.
Supporters need to be able to understand where their efforts are going and trust that your organization is doing exactly what it says it’s doing. Sharing how your organization works, your approach to achieving your mission, and even where the work is being done is very important. Transparency, by the way, is another characteristic that Charity Navigator will start using when rating organizations.
Charity: water shares all this information on their website -- from their approach, to implementation, to maintenance, to proof that their work works.
They also share what their solutions to providing clean water are:
And give us Google Maps to show the locations of all their completed water projects:
They also write stories and recaps of their trips to the field, how the conditions are, and share beautiful images on their blog:
Communicating all this information may sound like a lot of work, but I’m sure you already have it in your back pocket. It’s just a matter of writing it all down and presenting it to your readers.
Benefit #4: Content connects your readers to actual people that are impacted by your mission.
When you tell stories of the people you impact and communities you help, you're connecting your current and future supporters emotionally to your cause. Being able to put a face to impact helps individuals become more inspired to help, and also allows them to share something personal with their networks, whether through social media or email. Personal connection is the number one reason why people give, fundraise, join an organization, or volunteer.
Charity: water tells stories about individuals they meet in the countries and communities they've provided with clean water, including this beautiful story of Helen.
Through stories and content, you organization is able to communicate its achievements, connect with current and future supporters, and really share the impact you're making.
How does your organization use content to show impact? What other organization excel at this?