Whether it is a brand, a public company, or a non-profit, an ambassador is meant to embody the identity of your organization in every way including, appearance, values and ethics. This is a tall order so choosing ambassadors or becoming a good ambassador requires a great deal of thought.
Today competition among non-profits is strong, which means it can be challenging to get the public’s attention. If you are not careful you will find that your ambassadors; the people who are supposed to represent you in the best light, fail or worse, make the organization look bad. Any ambassador needs to understand the important position they are in and how to develop ways to stand out in the crowd.
Personality is certainly part of the equation. In other words, you want to choose people who have the right attitude and enthusiasm to represent and promote the interests that are vital to the success of your non-profit. As we all know though, personality can only get us so far. There is no need worry, there are steps that can be taken to better prepare people so that they can become good ambassadors.
Before setting ambassadors out into the competitive world, one of the first steps any organization should consider is messaging. It’s important that everyone within the non-profit is on the same page and fully understands just what they are promoting and how they should go about it. Get together and discuss what essential facts you want the community to know about, what misconceptions have to be addressed, and what is the clearest and most appealing way to deliver information. This exercise will help keep ambassadors on message and away from going rogue sort-of-speak.
Out of the discussion you can develop a plan or a toolkit that includes brochures or other handouts that are available to ambassadors on short notice. Of course, these tools should include interesting stories (not just statistics) that can engage people. Ambassadors should know more details about the stories than what is presented in the tools. They will get questions when people read the stories and need to demonstrate they are knowledgeable. This discussion should also include a clear outline of what is and isn’t appropriate in term of social media use.
It’s not all up to the non-profit – ambassadors have to take it upon themselves to prepare for the task of promoting the organization, it’s programs, campaigns, mission, etc. Below are a few tips on how you can better position yourself if you want to be good ambassador for a non-profit.
- Get to know news outlets – from local papers to radio stations and even bloggers, an ambassador should get to know the media and not be afraid to talk to them about interesting things happening with the non-profit, especially if it is something new and different.
- Keep information handy – if you are in a social setting and someone shows interest in what you do, it is a good opportunity to share a brochure, DVD or other type of handout.
- Keep a portfolio – maintain a binder with recent newspaper clippings, programs, statistics etc. for quick and easy reference when talking to people.
- Practice an elevator speech – develop a 30 second speech that you think would be compelling enough to get someone interested in supporting your non-profit and practice it.
- Keep up-to-date on your non-profit – situations are always changing so it is important to keep up to date on what your non-profit is doing, what they have accomplished, how many people they have assisted lately.
- Avoid negativity – always speak well of your organization to outsiders. Any drama should be kept to yourself or appropriate staff members within the non-profit.
- Blog – take some initiative and approach your organization about writing blogs and sharing information on your social media networks. As long as the messaging fits with the non-profits objectives and is approved by the organization it can be a great way to promote the cause.
There are many other ways you can become a good ambassador and at the same time reap a great deal of satisfaction from your efforts. There are likely some creative ideas that you can bring to the table that are not listed here. Becoming a successful envoy for a non-profit does not require you to have a degree in marketing, but you do have to have a deep understanding of your organization, it’s goals and the role it plays in society. Of course, your passion for the non-profit can also make a huge difference.
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