Webinar Recap: Turn Your Stakeholders into Powerful Promoters for Your Nonprofit

5 min read

If you weren’t able to make it to our April webinar focused on Commitment #4 of the Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto, don’t worry! Here’s a recap of what you missed:

Alyssa Conrardy, President of Prosper Strategies was joined by Amy Levner, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at KaBOOM! If you’re not familiar with KaBOOM!, it is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to giving all kids, especially those living in poverty, great, safe places to play.

During the webinar, Amy and Alyssa discussed why it’s so important to give all of your organization’s stakeholders – from the people you serve, to volunteers, to donors, to staff, to leadership, to board members – the tools that will help them talk about your organization and become effective brand advocates. In today’s social media-driven world, the people who come in contact with your nonprofit every day will talk about, or on behalf of, your organization whether you give them permission to or not. It’s up to your organization to do what you can to help them communicate your mission accurately and effectively.

In today’s social media-driven world, the people who come in contact with your nonprofit every day will talk about, or on behalf of, your organization whether you give them permission to or not. Click To Tweet

What Amy and Alyssa covered:

  • How to identify your own stakeholders and determine what tools and support they need to become effective brand ambassadors

  • How KaBOOM!’s diverse stakeholders – from community partners and corporate partners to local government officials and city influencers – serve as unofficial brand advocates for the organization

  • What KaBOOM! is doing to help each stakeholder group communicate more effectively about (and in some cases, on behalf of) the organization

  • How spokespeople and brand ambassadors should be treated differently internally and externally 
  • What to do when a brand ambassador or spokesperson causes trouble 

If you’d like to jump to highlights from the webinar, here are some timestamps to help you out:

  • 4:55: Introduction to Commitment #4, “We will treat all of our stakeholders as brand ambassadors.” 
  • 16:13: Example of an organization that is winning at turning stakeholders into brand ambassadors: charity: water 
  • 19:33: Seven steps for developing a brand ambassador program at your nonprofit 
  • 24:35: Q&A with Amy on how KaBOOM! is helping its stakeholders become ambassadors for the organization 
  • 59:24: Audience Q&A 
  • 1:13:52: Preview of the next webinar in the series, focused on Commitment #5, “We will develop a marketing plan that aligns with our strategic plan and recognize that marketing can impact every single one of our strategic goals.”

Key definitions that are important to this webinar:

  • Stakeholder refers to anyone, individual or group, who has an interest in your nonprofit. It includes people directly involved such as board members, people you serve, donors or foundations that give you grants. 
  • A brand ambassador is a person who represents a nonprofit organization in a positive light and, in doing so, helps to increase brand awareness and engagement. 
  • A spokesperson is an individual appointed by a nonprofit to speak publicly and on the record on its behalf. A spokesperson is typically an employee.

Q&A highlights

Alyssa: What does Commitment #4, to treat all organizational stakeholders as brand ambassadors, mean to KaBOOM!?

Amy: “It would be very easy to think our work is about one specific project, or the day that we actually put the playground into the ground. Really, our work is about what happens in the community as we plan toward building that playspace together, and what continues to happen after. People from all backgrounds and walks of life come together that work on a project that they felt like wouldn’t happen. Our stakeholders help us keep the momentum going and tell the story after the playspace goes into the ground, and that helps us achieve our mission of ensuring kids grow up healthy and happy.”

Alyssa: How are you engaging with influencers?

Amy: “An example of how we recently built a relationship with an influencer, is we built a playground with Kid President a few years ago, and put a post on social media to celebrate the anniversary of the project. The guy who runs the account tweeted back and said he was glad we reminded him of that project, and we started DMing because he had new ideas, and were able to re-engage with an influencer.”

Alyssa: Are there any new initiatives you’re excited about?

Amy: “We’re doing a brand refresh to address a perception gap between the work we’ve been doing over the last 20 years, and the increased breadth of the work we’re doing now. One of the challenges for us has been figuring out when and how to take credit for work. We want credit and feedback to really land on our community partners, but that means we’re often in the backseat. We’ve built up years and years of expertise that is often kept a secret. We’re finding new ways to help people communicate that the work wouldn’t be able to happen without our help, and it’s exciting to manage through and message.”

Alyssa: What’s a creative way in which a stakeholder has acted as a brand ambassador in the past?

Amy: “CarMax is one of our major funders, and they’re incredible. We have an annual planning meeting, and they recently mentioned that they weren’t getting the attention they’d like, and they hoped to get at least a mention. One of my colleagues, a real communications dynamo, suggested sharing messaging about KaBOOM! and why they’re working with us and why what we’re doing is important. We gave them our talking points, and they shared them for us. Their media went straight up, and they were mentioned a ton. If all partners involved talk about each other, it’s much more credible than if we’re all trying to toot our own horn.”

What’s next?

If you have any lingering questions that weren’t addressed during the webinar about how to turn all of your organization’s stakeholders into brand ambassadors, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here. We love to discuss this topic and would be happy to dig into it further with you.

You can register for our next webinar, “Develop a Marketing Plan That Moves Your Mission Forward,” featuring Prosper Strategies CEO Lindsay Mullen and President Alyssa Conrardy, here.

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