Shellie Speer

How to Create Your Nonprofit Organization’s Key Messaging

Strategies in Nonprofit Marketing

1. Understand why it’s important
Key messaging isn’t just simple branding. It’s a strategy and story that summarizes who you are in a concise, clear and consistent way to communicate your organization’s identity and build your credibility in the community. It answers the biggest questions about your nonprofit’s mission, and helps effectively steer what people hear about you and how they remember you.

 2. Form the foundation
Start by identifying 3 key messages that sum up the heart of your organization. An effective way to approach this is by asking yourself 3 important questions:

  • What do you do?
  • Who do you do it for?
  • How do you do it?

By answering these 3 questions clearly and concisely, you’ll have a unified overview of your entire organization. Your key messages then act as the umbrella that covers the entire scope of what you do.

3. Craft your key messaging
In order to grab people’s attention, you need to appeal to their emotions and tell an effective story. When crafting your key messages, always remember the three C’s: conciseclear and consistent. By keeping it concise, clear and consistent, you will help others better understand your organization’s role and the need it fills in your community – and in the process, build credibility for your nonprofit.

4. Spread the word
Once you have crafted your key messaging, your staff and others who speak on your behalf have a solid foundation from which to speak – and can then easily flesh out specific programs and services under that umbrella tailored to the audience. This allows you to communicate much more consistently about the most important aspects of your work and what people need to know to be motivated to give.

5. Revise, refresh and remember
Your key messaging should be able to effectively and succinctly tell the mission, story and purpose behind your nonprofit. In order to make your key message memorable, the people within your organization must not only remember the message, but revise it as well. As your organization grows and changes, it’s important to remember that your key messages will also have to adapt.

  • Shellie Speer

    Shellie Speer-Burnett, Senior Vice President, BDI Academy

    With over 30 years of partnership in Rescue Missions and nonprofit organizations, Shellie Speer-Burnett brings her expertise, counsel and philanthropic-centered passion to assist in furthering the work of BDI’s Rescue Mission clients. For 22 years of her career, she served as the Founder and President/CEO of her own agency, ENEX Group, which helped her clients capture hearts and donor loyalty in their communities.

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