We’ve all heard “sharing is caring” since we were kids (my daughter still reminds me when we play with her Care Bears). We were taught it in elementary school, and it still holds true in our everyday lives. “The sharing economy” concept has been around for a few years now, and it’s more than splitting the check at dinner or borrowing something from a neighbor.
It’s about services sharing. Shared offices, ride sharing, community gardens, lending libraries (of not just books, but tools and equipment), home swapping and couch surfing.
All of this supports a philosophy of greater efficiency, utility and resource savings.
How does sharing relate to your nonprofit?
Our latest Stelter national research shows that far and away the biggest reason people give to a nonprofit is because “it makes me feel good to help other people.” The second leading reason is the nonprofit “supports a cause I strongly believe in.”
While these sentiments are second nature for those who work at nonprofits, we must remind ourselves that sentiment can be a powerful motivator for supporters to share their treasure, time and talent.
How can you better tap into this existing strength?
- Regularly invite prospects or donors to participate in social media or other communications activities. I refer to this as “going fishing where the fish are.” It’s more than just “follow us on Facebook!” Ask for guest bloggers, and ask to contribute to their blogs. Encourage supporters to share photos, essays, or podcasts that can make a strategic contribution to your communications.
- Invite your supporters to become involved with your operations through forming task forces, subcommittees or working groups. Show people they don’t have to be a board member to share their time, thoughts and enthusiasm.
Speaking of sharing, you don’t have to do this work alone. There are plenty of resources available to help a nonprofit operate more efficiently and be a better steward of assets. The Stanford Nonprofit Management Institute has some ideas you might consider:
- 50% of the workforce is expected to be comprised of independent contractors by 2020. Nonprofits can tap into community managers, accountants, attorneys and others on a truly shared basis.
- A variety of crowdfunding platforms might help bridge some gaps when regular fundraising is experiencing a slowdown or timing delays.
- Even more ideas are shared here that are definitely worth the read.
There are plenty of sharing ideas out there. The key is determining what services would fit with your business model and your mission.
Remember, your contributors and prospects believe in your organization. Let their support work for you in new sharable ways.