The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
If you are helping with marketing for your affiliated fund, the first thing you may hear from your colleagues is, “We need a brochure!”
But wait—the first thing that your fund advisory committee must do is clearly articulate your affiliated fund’s vision, mission and values. If you are not clear on what you are trying to achieve, how you are carrying out your work, and the principles that guide your activities, it will be difficult to engage others in your community. See Vision, Mission & Values.Communicating the Affiliated Fund / NCF Relationship
Asking for donations and accepting contributions is serious business. NCF and its affiliated funds are held to the highest standards of legal compliance.
As you begin to develop talking points and printed materials it is important to clearly express how your affiliated fund is related to the Nebraska Community Foundation. Although many affiliated funds call themselves “foundations,” in the truest legal sense they are not—they are “funds.”
If you call yourself the Hometown Community Foundation…you are not being completely accurate and transparent. You need to describe yourself as the Hometown Community Foundation Fund or, simply, the Hometown Community Fund.
Please review carefully NCF’s policy on using accurate language and the risks involved when an affiliated fund misrepresents itself—either intentionally or unintentionally. NCF staff members will be happy to help you create materials that are clear and accurate.Ready, Set, Go
There are several activities that you can get started on that will help you “fill in the blanks” when you are ready to create your brochures, write your press releases and develop donor packets. Here are some suggestions for getting started:Review the Guide to Getting NCF Marketing Assistance
NCF is happy to assist you in developing several common marketing tools. Please review this Guide to Getting NCF Marketing Assistance follow the steps outlined, and then contact NCF staff with your request.Collect stories from the people you help.
If your affiliated fund already has a history of grantmaking, interview your grantees—not just the organizations, but the end beneficiaries—the senior citizen who now has an improved ramp to the community center, the teacher and kids with new science lab equipment, the young woman who received a scholarship for nursing school. Ask them to explain what is different because of your support.Collect stories from your supporters.
Find out why people have made contributions or have volunteered for your affiliated fund. Ask them if you can use their stories to inspire others.Set up a photo archive.
Get a good digital camera (or find someone who likes photography) and begin taking pictures of “grants in action.” When you save your photos, title the photos with the date in the filename. Write captions for the photos that include names and activities. Save the caption information with the same filename as the photo so you can cross-reference more easily.Create your top media contact list.
Create a list that includes the organization, editor or reporter, e-mail, phone and regular mail information. Think beyond just newspapers and radio and TV stations. Think about the chamber of commerce, the economic development board, schools, churches, nonprofit groups and community Web sites. Make a note of all their publishing schedules and deadlines.Review your messaging.
If your affiliated fund has been operating for some time, look at past newsletters, fundraising letters, press releases and e-mails. Are the messages and the appeals consistent? Do they tell people how your affiliated fund benefits the community? Do they convey what you think your “call to action” should be?Review your NCF Web page.
Is it out of date? Is the contact information correct? Can you provide NCF staff with new information about recent grants or upcoming events? You can update your NCF Web page by contacting NCF. Read more about updating your NCF Web page.Ensure that you have high-quality logos and graphics.
Creating these elements is covered in the Branding and Messaging section. If your affiliated fund does not use consistent logos and graphics, begin collecting ideas and researching possible graphic designers to help. If you do have these elements already, ask yourself and others if they are represent your affiliated fund in a high-quality, professional way. Once your affiliated fund has established its Vision, Mission & Values, you may want to look closely at your graphics to make sure they reflect these statements in a clear visual way.Look at what others are doing.
Visit the Web pages of other NCF affiliated funds. Many have included their brochures, flyers, annual reports and other marketing tools on their pages. Visit Web sites of community foundations from outside Nebraska. Look at the kinds of messages and calls-to-action they use. Why are some examples appealing and others not? But be careful. Every community is unique. Your challenge is to focus on the unique challenges and opportunities your community or organizational affiliated fund is addressing.
Sara Kalamaja decorates a bottle cap magnet for a customer at the Norfolk ESI Camp marketplace in June.Read more →