Many nonprofits struggle with how to engage the board in branding and marketing. Sometimes staff even view the board as adversaries in this work, who think marketing is a distraction from mission. But the board may be your hidden asset if you give them the right tools. Consider these five ways to engage the board on behalf of this important work.
1. Connect Marketing to Mission. Board members are involved because they care about the mission and are connected to it in some personal way. Set aside time at one meeting to have each board member identify a core aspect of your mission that they find most important and why. Have each board member name one or two ways they could connect another circle they move in (social, work, alumni, etc.) to this aspect of your mission.
2. Find Examples From Other Spaces. Nonprofit board members often work in the for-profit world. Bring them examples they recognize–from banking or real estate or law. A legal video that went viral on YouTube (there are some!), a business Twitter campaign, a newspaper story that generated web views and buzz. All of these can help your brand ambassadors understand the role of marketing in delivering on the mission.
3. Help Board Members Use Social Media. Many board members skew older than staff. They may not be comfortable using social tools, or they may not consider using them to promote the work of the organization. Give board members monthly updates with hashtags, photos and other resources to help promote your upcoming fundraiser or event. Give them examples of how retweeting or tagging and posting a photo on their Facebook page might net you hundreds of new views and real dollars.
4. Give Board Members Tangible Updates of Your Messaging Impact. Give board members an inside look at your social metrics–what pages on your website are most “sticky” and why, how many people follow your blog, what happens when you tweet, when you post a new item on Facebook. Give them not just numbers but stories about who your communities are, what they need from you, and what they respond to.
5. Show and Tell. Do a live demo of as you interact with various communities and constituencies through your different social networks. Let board members see in realtime the kind of impact you have, and how the message can be multiplied exponentially.