If you live in the world of social media, Twitter specifically, you know the importance of 140 characters. In that span, you must communicate your message to your audience in such a way that either fully tells a brief headline, status or intriguing hint of more to come.
For some, Twitter has become a method to share news, keep followers informed and even send a marketing teaser of future events. But the ability to communicate in this manner has required a learning curve for some organizations.
The truth is your volunteers want that same intentionality from you. They are bombarded with requests and tasks that quickly fill up their plate. Your non-profit’s priorities can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. When you get down to the basics, your volunteers want to know specifically, what the business is really doing and how they can plug in.
Can you communicate your business strategy in 140 characters or less? If not, consider these three principles to help you hone your message:
#1 Keep it simple.
Yes, your volunteers are busy so when you ask for a piece of their time make sure it’s easy for them to understand the why and how of the request. The first step in keeping “it” simple means taking the steps to ensure everyone on your team is focusing on essential tasks. Conduct a quick audit to determine projects, meetings, reports, etc. every person on the team is focused on. Then map each item back to your goals. Create a “stop doing list” for every item that is non-essential. Without a doubt, meetings will likely disappear and reports no one reads will be stopped. This process of pruning focuses your team and more importantly affirms what they do matters. And that focus creates results.
#2 Create buzz.
One of the ways Twitter allows users to share more than the 140 character limit is to include tools such as URL shorteners. It’s an easy way to point readers to a specific webpage, article or multi-media link. The short tweet builds intrigue – or at least it should – from the reader. He wants to read more. Your volunteers have the same need. Talk about progress happening in the organization and create excitement. Provide updates on milestones that are being met, positive feedback from customers, opportunities on the horizon – these updates create a buzz for your organization. When success is happening, your volunteers will want to know more and ways to plug in.
#3 Repeat often.
Public speaking experts tell us that any good speech includes some variation of this format: tell them what you are going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them. It’s the repetition principle. To ensure your message is heard and understood, people must hear it often. You will never be accused of communicating too much. In those moments you think you have said “it” enough, you haven’t, regardless of how many times you have said it. So evaluate your communication – how often and through what variety of vehicles are you ensuring everyone on your team knows what is going on. Chances are, there is room to increase your efforts.
Many messages are aimed at today’s consumer. Your ability to be smart, simple and engaging with your volunteers can be the difference- 140 characters at a time.