Are You a Good Nonprofit Ambassador?

Do's and Don'ts for Effectively Sharing Your Mission

As the spokesperson for a nonprofit organization, you’re undoubtedly passionate and opinionated about what you do. Yet sometimes that passion has to be tempered with caution. Your words and actions reflect on your nonprofit organization. You need to consider the consequences carefully. Being a good nonprofit ambassador is a skill you can hone with practice.

How to be a Good Nonprofit Ambassador

Do: Spread the Word About Your Nonprofit

As a nonprofit ambassador, you are an advocate for your organization. When topics applicable to your mission come up, you should feel free to speak about your organization, the work it does, and its current projects. Keep it light and succinct, and be open to expounding further if the topic is welcomed.

Don’t: Stray from the Message of the Nonprofit

It’s easy to confuse the mission of your nonprofit with your own personal aspirations, especially as your relationship to the nonprofit grows. Take some time to regularly remind yourself of the nonprofit’s mission, values, and statements. Try to avoid making public statements that go contrary to these statements.

nonprofit ambassador

Do: Practice a Nonprofit Ambassador Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short-and-sweet pitch that you can use when introducing your organization to new people. Your elevator pitch should explain what your nonprofit does, the value of its work, and how people can immediately get involved. This is most useful at fundraisers and other networking-related events. It may feel silly, but practicing out loud repeatedly will help you be more confident when you deliver it in real conversations.

RELATED: Involve Board Members in Giving Tuesday

Don’t: Monopolize the Conversation

If you start to become overbearing, you may alienate those who were initially interested in your nonprofit and may have further interacted with you later. While your nonprofit is important, it’s equally important to learn about what others are doing, and look for things you have in common. Further, to be a good nonprofit ambassador, you should talk about yourself as simply and briefly as possible. Monopolizing the conversation will not win you or your nonprofit any points.

Do: Focus on the Positives About Your Organization

Rather than focus on the problems and challenges that your organization has encountered, emphasize the positive things your organization has done. Many people experience emotional fatigue hearing about negative things all the time. They don’t want to hear about the problems, they want to hear about the solutions. You can emotionally uplift and inspire them by concentrating on the good you have done.

RELATED: Ask These Questions Before Joining a Nonprofit Board

Don’t: Attempt to Speak About Issues You Aren’t Well-Versed In

“I don’t know, but I will find you that answer,” is always a valid response to a question. Board members and spokespeople can get in trouble when they try to speak about issues or incidents that they aren’t knowledgeable about. If a sudden event has occurred, such as a crisis or natural disaster, some time and care should be taken in crafting an expert response. The worst thing you can do is provide quotes that could be taken out of context later. Your board should prepare an emergency communication plan ahead of time, with people designated to speak to press or law enforcement if needed. Other members of the organization should defer to those contact people in times of uncertainty.

Do: Have Fun Being a Nonprofit Ambassador

None of this means that you can’t express yourself. It only means that you need to be aware of the potential consequences of doing so. Understanding the do’s and don’ts gives you more information to make educated decisions moving forward. Being a nonprofit ambassador or board member can be difficult. Furthermore, there often isn’t a lot of material available to help you navigate the unfamiliar and sometimes treacherous waters. Following these tips will keep you in the clear.

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