The other day, Mike (the Executive Director of a nonprofit) and I were meeting. I consult with them on an evaluation of a federally-funded program. The agency is doing very good work which is reflected in the evaluation reports.
The conversation came around to how the results could be more useful for the agency. Mike said they were very useful already because they were well written, had easy to understand information, and so on.
“But,” I persisted, “do you take the good results and share them?”
The board gets a copy of the report’s executive summary and, if they want more, I give them the entire report, but they don’t ever ask for it,” he said. “Sorry about that!” he grinned.
So here’s my question–what keeps successful organizations from spreading the news more widely?
Good news from previous grants can clearly go into future grants (and often does) to show capacity to achieve grant outcomes. But, what about beyond that?
Foundations all across the US have become less willing to accept (or seriously consider) applications for funding from organizations they aren’t familiar with, or who don’t have a successful track record.
Individuals are not very likely to give to an agency they haven’t heard of.
Members of the media are not always willing to print positive news about social services, but they might, if the story was pitched to them. Positive news leads to more people knowing about your good work and more good news leads to more people with more donations.
The advantages of spreading your own positive information (this is part of any branding campaign) seem clear, but it doesn’t seem to be done much.
Sure, it’s one more thing to do, but if the positives are so large, the writing basically done for you (tell your evaluator to write up a press release!) then what reason would be compelling enough to make time to publicize your good news?
What thoughts do you have on this?
Does your organization do intentional publicity to point out its successes? How do you manage to do so, when so many other agencies don’t? Have you seen positive results from doing so?
Please share your experiences!