Mindshare: How your organization stays front and center
Some nonprofits are really well-known. Others are a “best-kept secret” or “hidden gem.” Why is that? And does it matter? It all comes down to mindshare.
Mindshare is the level of awareness and understanding that a product, program, service, or organization has in people’s minds. Building mindshare is also a practice that is never complete.
Why does mindshare matter?
Nonprofits strive to build mindshare so that they are top-of-mind when people who will benefit from their mission—or want to support it—are ready to take action. What organization will most people donate to when a natural disaster strikes? If they want to help their community in a time of great need? If they are diagnosed with an illness? The organizations you think of first are the ones that have effectively built mindshare with you.
Mindshare paves the way for action.
Fundraisers and senior leadership maintain mindshare with major donors to ensure they remain a top philanthropic priority. Programs staff have relationships with key partners and peer organizations to maintain referrals and collaborations. Advocacy staff build relationships with policymakers to get policies changed or bills sponsored.
Mindshare can also imply credibility. Organizations with recognizable names are often viewed as more legitimate. Many people will support or engage with a nonprofit they’ve heard of before supporting or engaging with one that’s unfamiliar.
What if you stop communicating?
The practice of establishing connections—or, more specifically, mindshare and engagement—is ongoing, no matter how old, large, or successful a nonprofit becomes, or what’s happening in the world. That’s one of the reasons fundraising advisors counsel organizations not to put fundraising efforts on hold during tough times. It’s also one of the reasons your nonprofit organization shouldn’t reduce or eliminate the resources it invests in marketing and communications when times are rough.
Stop exercising and you lose the benefits of the strength you’ve built. Stop eating or sleeping well and you feel lousy. Stop communicating and you risk decreasing or losing engagement and mindshare.
What does it take to grow and sustain mindshare?
Best-kept secrets and well-known nonprofits both have to consistently focus on and invest in building and maintaining mindshare. To do this, you’ll need a few essential ingredients:
- A team tasked with building mindshare and the resources to do it.
- A strategy to build mindshare using some mix of owned, earned, and paid media.
- Sustained and consistent effort. This is not a one-time push.
- Experiences that are valuable and relevant for your audiences.
If you are ready to dig in and go deeper, join me for my four-part online workshop series or check out my new book and learn how to build your nonprofit’s communications engine. Let’s lift some weights together.