Why Investing in Your Nonprofit Community Will Never Get Old – Tips on How to Get Started

by Tasha Van Vlack

untitled design (30)

The world is moving quickly out there nonprofit pro; it is becoming harder and harder to keep up with the newest technology, marketing tools, fundraising strategies.

But a key to sustainable nonprofit growth is actually at your fingertips (and its way less flashy than any new technology.

Cultivating a community of supporters and advocates IS groundbreaking in today’s digital world. As one of the founder’s of The Nonprofit Hive, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of community investment. Our journey began with a simple belief in the power of nonprofits + connection, which has since evolved into a community of over 750 (and growing!) passionate nonprofit professionals from over 30 countries uniting in conversation to make a difference in “how” we “do” nonprofit.

The Why: The Power of Community Investment

Yes, building a community around your nonprofit mission is going to be work – heck, it could be ALOT of work. But in a world where everything can be automated or driven by AI the new differentiator is actually old-school human-to-human connection. Post-COVID we are all looking to be given a reason to care, to give, to FEEL big feelings about something. By rallying around your mission and connected like-minded people, you are providing an invaluable service to both your organization and the people in the community.

Community-Led Growth: In an era where every need seems to have an associated product or service, having your nonprofit standout is more challenging than ever. Investing in a community that resonates with your mission can set you apart. A well-nurtured community fosters innovation, drives your organization toward success, and contributes up to 45% more value to organizations compared to non-engaged ones.

Building Brand Advocates: Authentic connections transform community members into brand advocates, amplifying your reach and impact far beyond traditional marketing strategies like google ads or SEO. These advocates provide social proof when they talk about your cause, making their endorsements more personal and powerful.

Ensuring Sustainability: Continuous engagement and listening/adapting to community needs are key to long-term nonprofit growth. Sustainable community engagement can be found in making every member feel valued, heard, and part of something bigger.

The How: Getting Started with Community Investment

OK, so you know that you have a nonprofit community just *waiting* to be engaged, but getting started feels overwhelming. Don’t run out the door and buy a subscription to Mighty Networks or Circle (this isn’t one of those things you rush!). Here are 4 beginner steps to beginning a community that are a great jumping point:

Understand Your Audience: Start by knowing who your community members are and what they care about. This understanding will guide your efforts in creating a space that feels like home to them.

Define Your Purpose: What is the purpose of your community? And why will your donors/volunteers/advocates want to join? Whether it’s supporting a cause or providing a platform for collaboration, ensure your purpose aligns with the desires and dreams of your audience.

Foster Strong Connections: Engage with your community by creating opportunities for interaction, sharing stories, and celebrating wins together. This is going to strengthen bonds within the community AND also encourages active participation and advocacy.

Empower Your Community: Give your community members a voice in shaping the direction of your nonprofit (I know this sounds scary, but it can actually be magical). This sense of ownership increases their investment in your cause and leverages the collective skills and passions of the group.

Our Origin Story: The Birth of The Nonprofit Hive

The Nonprofit Hive began as a desire to create supports for people working in/with nonprofits and has quickly grown as a testament to the power of community investment. We started with a vision to connect individuals passionate about nonprofit work; we used a simple series of questions and a weekly offer of 1-1 video connections to “match make” like-minded nonprofiteers in community. But what ended up happening was beyond our wildest dreams. 

Through consistent engagement, cheerleading and a commitment to our members, we’ve grown from an idea into a thriving platform where nonprofit professionals can connect, share, and grow together. In 6 months we have grown organically in to 30+ countries with 760 members (and growing by 100-200 monthly).

The journey of The Nonprofit Hive illustrates the incredible potential of a focused, engaged community to drive growth and innovation. By investing in our community, we’ve not only witnessed the growth of our platform but also the personal and professional development of our members. We have seen consultants find work, nonprofits begin their own private collaborations, small group masterminds begin and nonprofit professionals find new jobs. This growth has been a shared adventure, highlighting the importance of each member’s contribution to our collective success.

Conclusion

Investing in your nonprofit’s community is an evergreen strategy that offers so many  benefits, from fostering brand advocacy to ensuring long-term sustainability. Genuine connection does not come with an expiry date and it provides value to your community members as well. Remember, the strongest communities are built on the foundation of shared passions and dreams. Start cultivating yours today.

About Tasha Van Vlack

Tasha Van Vlack is a co-founder at The Nonprofit Hive, a free video platform for changemakers to connect weekly and collaborate one-to-one.

Tasha has been building bridges and connecting with nonprofit professionals for the last 7 years through a mixture of marketing, sales and customer success conversations.

Tasha’s passion is people and you are most likely to find her in her spare time floating around LinkedIn or Slack channels.