Gaining support from the community is crucial to any NPO. This is important for finding consistent financial support as well a loyal and dedicated staff. With support from the community comes coverage from local media and a buzz in social media, which in turn helps increase awareness. On the other end of the spectrum, it is often times challenging as a community member who wants to get involved with a local NPO to choose one out of the sea of organizations vying for your attention.
As an organization, you want to make it easy for the community and other interested parties to understand the mission of your NPO and why your work is important.
To do this, stick to the fundamentals. Answer the “Who, What, Where, Why, and How” questions:
- WHO are you? Give a brief introduction to your organization and its history.
- WHY do you exist? This is the most important question. Give background and concrete facts as to the climate of the cause.
- WHAT are you doing? Explain the different programs you are implementing and if (and hopefully when) they make a donation, specifically what their donation will be used for.
- WHERE is this all happening? When looking for the support of community members, you want to stress how this can affect not just them but their families and the greater community.
- HOW will you create change? Explain your long-term vision and how you plan on achieving the concrete goals you have set for the organization.
Take for example the organization Baoji XinXing Aid for Street Kids.
WHO are you?
- This organization is dedicated to helping the homeless and runaway children in the city of Baoji, China.
WHY do you exist?
- Since Baoji is a major transfer station for trains entering or leaving the western part of China, there are many runaway children who end up in Baoji. A poorer mountainous area where families are unable to provide for their children due to lack of jobs also surrounds this city. This leads children to leave at an early age.
WHAT are you doing? (Importantly, if an individual donates, what will the funds be used for?)
- This organization will provide shelter and food for children who are living at the center long-term or for children who need help returning home. The funds will also go towards providing the children with life skills training as well as education on how to be prepared for the many life situations they will face. Their time at the center help the children build their self-confidence as well as dignity.
WHERE is this all happening?
- While the organization is based in the second tier city of Baoji, these children come from all over China.
HOW will you create change?
- While before they may have continued their ways of surviving on the street (i.e. begging or stealing), they can become and be seen as valued citizens of their community. Higher education and stable jobs are now options. These children are able to go on to have brighter futures. In many cases, the organization helped and verified that children were able to return home. The organization can also show many specific examples of children who have gone on to have homes of their own, stable jobs, and happy livelihoods.
Document the need. Meet the need. Communicate the need.