How to be the Voice of your Nonprofit

Marketing and branding your nonprofit organization is key. Your brand needs to stand out above the rest while properly conveying the mission.  Your employees, volunteers and community provide a voice and tell the story.  On August 13th, Nancy Grayson, Executive Director of Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky and Casondra Cooper, President of Cazz Consulting, LLC discussed marketing, branding and networking so your voice and nonprofit will stand out.

The mission of Horizons Community Funds is to unite resources to raise the quality of life for all people in the Northern Kentucky community. In the past, Horizon Community Funds was branded more like a bank, but they wanted a more emotional connection and rebranded.   One change was the use of pictures.  Photos now include more children to bring emotions of hope, giving, and a brighter future.

Nancy Grayson also provided some ideas when branding a nonprofit organization.  Be bold and cast a BIG vision to capture the attention of donors and the public.  Horizon partnered with local business and purchased napkins that had their QR code. Patrons can easily scan the napkin with their smart phone, learn about the organization and donate. Use bold and radical statements, such as “we’re on a mission to end homelessness in KY”.

Appeal to core human values.  Use real examples of struggles and outcomes and share on social media. Keep it a conversation also by building relationships.

Casondra Cooper discussed individual branding and being an ambassador for your firm.  She provided the following tips:

1.  Be authentic and form solid connections.

2.  Plan for success and determine what you need.  Use the “W” s.  When, where, why what?   The best time to network is when you have something to say or you need. Then decide where to network, choose events, and plan what to say.

3.  Prepare an elevator speech by leaving it open so the person with whom you are speaking asks follow-up questions

4.  Listen and give first.  If you listen and help others with their needs, they are more likely to help you too.

5.  Learn to adopt.  We learn 70% through experience, 20% through others and 10% through structured courses and programs.

6.  Leverage relationships

When attending networking events, remember to listen and take notes.  Before writing on business cards, it’s polite to ask first.  Leverage the people you know to meet new contacts, create a follow up strategy and most important, enjoy the event!

The Covington Business Council is proud to partner with VonLehman CPA and Advisory Firm to offer quarterly Lunch and Learns for our nonprofit members. If you’d like more information about the Covington Business Council, please email Executive Director, Pat Frew at

Written by Molly Weaver, Capacity Coordinator, Covington Business Council

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