Keeping of track of everything that is happening is important for nonprofits.  You need to track what money is coming into your business. You should track how you and your employees interact with your customers, handle your grants, and manage other aspects of your work.

However, running a nonprofit is much more than paperwork and finances.  In order to make your nonprofit more successful, you should consider developing and employing effective communication habits.  If you are not already employing these habits, you might want to consider doing so. Such communication habits can help you define your brand and develop your voice.  They can help you create more of a balance in your nonprofit work.

Telling Stories

Telling stories can be an effective communication tactic to assist and transform your nonprofit.  Whether you are trying to inspire donors or find more supporters, storytelling can be powerful. You can use it to evoke feelings from others and convince them to see why they should support your nonprofit organization. Many people who follow nonprofits via social media make donations or take other actions because they were moved by stories from the nonprofits.

Nonprofits can engage in storytelling by using images, writing, marketing, and utilizing other creative outlets.  If you want your nonprofit to succeed, storytelling can be a powerful communication habit.


Successful nonprofits know how to engage with others.  They engage through social media, other media sources, fundraising events, and directly with potential donors. When you engage, you should do so with directness, caring, and purpose.

For example, if you send a one-word reply to someone who posted on your nonprofit’s social media channel, that is not real engagement.  Make sure you are letting people know you hear what they are saying, that you understand. You must be genuine and generous with your comments, questions, and responses. Donors want to know that you care about them. If they have a choice between supporting your nonprofit or another nonprofit similar to yours, they may choose the one who engages better.

Using We Language

Another communication habit your nonprofit should consider is using we language. As a nonprofit, it is important to show that you care about the community and the people your nonprofit serves.  If you use “I” language — language that uses words such as I and me — potential donors and supporters may see you as inwardly focused.  They may see you as disempowering.

By using “we” language — language that uses words such as we and us — you can involve others and be more inclusive.  For example, compare these two statements:

  • I want you to donate to help children in need.
  • We can help children in need together. Make your donation today.

Do you see the difference?  We language can make statements much more powerful, positive, and engaging as well. Using this language may lead others to view your nonprofit as more trustworthy. This type of language is an important tool that can bring your nonprofit team, the community, donors, and other supporters together as one.


Being Radically Honest

As a nonprofit, it is important to build trust with the community, supporters, and donors.  They must be able to trust in your vision, your mission, and most of all, what your nonprofit does for others.  One communication habit that can help you create this trust is the use of radical honesty. This is a habit that can allow you to share authentically. You can bring everyone together as one unit and help others to see what is happening.

In addition, radical honesty provides the truth to the community, sponsors, and donors.  You are basically putting everything out there and not hiding anything. Some people may see this as a risky maneuver.

However, if you practice radical honesty, you are not lying to anyone. People can trust you and your nonprofit, no matter what is going on behind the scenes.  Some nonprofits have found radical honesty to be an effective tool for success. It could help your nonprofit as well. If you start using radical honesty, you can talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, and more.

Praising and Recognizing

If you work at a nonprofit, you want everyone to feel like they belong. Communication habits that can help you to do that are recognition and praise.  Are you aware of the motivational benefits of recognition and praise? Some studies say that these two tools can be extremely powerful motivators.

Yes, nonprofits can give many other incentives.  However, many nonprofits have found that using recognition and praise can create the desire to work hard.  Recognition and praise can also help motivate employees to be more loyal and committed to the visions of nonprofits. People who receive regular praise and recognition are also more likely to be more productive. Consider praising and recognizing your employees, donors, and supporters at least once a week.


Nonprofits can do many things to be more successful.  Implementing the five effective communication habits mentioned above can help you build a great nonprofit. You can boost employee productivity and build greater trust with the community, supporters, and donors as well. People rely on you to teach them about your nonprofit. They want you to tell them and show them why your nonprofit is the one they should support. You can do that in many ways.

Through storytelling, you can talk with everyone about your nonprofit and communicate its story. You can let people know what is coming up or what has happened. Through engaging, you can connect more with supporters, donors, and the community. When you use we language, you involve people with your nonprofit. If you use radical honesty, you are being transparent and let people know that they can trust your nonprofit. Finally, by using recognition and praise, you can develop more commitment, trust, and productivity from your employees.



Charles Watson is the head SEO and content writer for Willow Springs Texas.  A lifelong Detroit resident, during the winter months you can find him at the local Detroit Pistons games.  He can be reached directly on Twitter at @charleswatson00.

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