A nonprofit organization needs basic business and marketing tools to have credibility. When the state organization or chapter presents a professional, positive and attractive image through newsletters, fliers, brochures, letterhead stationery and more, it gains credibility with members, donors and others.
People and businesses in the community gauge the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission by how they present themselves. This image translates directly into funding both through direct financial contributions and in-kind donations. Make sure that the organization projects a positive, professional image in all communications including email messages.
Publicity is something that attracts the attention of the public or attention that is given to someone or something by newspapers, magazines, television news programs, etc. One example is the Walk4Hearing getting mentioned in the local newspaper or television news. Promotion is similar: it entails communicating the purpose of the organization to current and potential members, advertisers, etc. An example of promotion is having a billboard advertising the Walk4Hearing.
State organizations and chapters need to have a plan for publicizing their meetings and events in order to promote the organization to people with hearing loss and their friends and families.
Hearing Loss Association of America Logo
HLAA is working to making the national organization a household name. To accomplish this task, HLAA has created a “brand” for the organization. HLAA extends this “brand” through the State organizations and Chapters; therefore, HLAA requires them to adopt the logos HLAA has created for them. Please read and implement the guidelines and policies for using the HLAA National, State organization and Chapter logos.Click here for additional details.
HLAA has created logos for all state organizations and chapters and emailed them to the main contact person for HLAA at the state organization or chapter and the newsletter editor. To request a logo, please contact HLAA by email or phone at 301.657.2248.
Creating an identity and professional image for the chapter or state organization
Leaders may wish to establish a permanent mailing address and telephone number for the organization so that it will not need to reprint materials when leaders change. The organization may also wish to get its own Internet domain name so that it can have its own email addresses; this is becoming standard business practice and strengthens branding efforts.
The contact tools listed below can help reinforce the organization’s “brand” and invite others to come to meetings or events, join, help and/or donate to the organization. Remember that you have only one chance to make a positive first impression. Invest time now in creating professional and service-oriented tools. You will be glad you did!
- Letterhead and envelope
- Business cards (to learn more, click here
- A simple brochure (You do not have to be a graphic designer to create an attractive and professional brochure! There are templates available on the Internet.)
- A flier listing meeting topics for the coming year, publicizing a specific event, etc.
- An e-mail account for the organization
- A telephone number for the organization (VoiceNation provides a free telephone number and voicemail service to nonprofits)
- A website
- Social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, etc.)
- Email marketing. (Companies like ConstantContact, iContact, VerticalResponse, and MailChimp provide sophisticated, web-based vehicles to engage in marketing that also usually link the message to other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and provide tracking and response analysis services.)
- News bulletins or newsletters (It can be a simple document. Create a portable data file (PDF) and email it to members with email addresses where possible. To see basic guidelines for newsletters, click here. Also, use the newsletter to market the organization.
- Posted signs in public places like libraries, community centers, grocery stores and coffee shops. Display them prominently on the day of the meeting within the building where the organization meets to help lead newcomers to the meeting room (Make sure that the signs reflect the professional image of the organization.)
- “Elevator speech” (a thirty-second description of the services and benefits your organization offers)
- Listservs (create one for your organization through Yahoo groups, Google, etc.)
Strategic publicity: Take care when writing emails and posting messages and comments on listservs and social media. Never write anything that you wouldn’t want posted on the front cover of a national newspaper or blasted throughout the Internet. Keep in mind you are always writing an advertisement or promotional piece.
Terminology when writing about people with hearing loss
We get questions about how to describe people who have hearing loss and what are the appropriate terms. Journalists have become sensitive to writing about people with disabilities; however, we still see confusion in mainstream publications and inaccuracies in how hearing loss is described. Here is an explanation of the terms, how they’ve evolved, and how HLAA uses them.
Exhibiting at health fairs, farmers’ markets and other community events
Participating in public events in your area is a wonderful way to promote the state organization, chapter(s) and/or HLAA, because they offer a visual way to publicize the many services and programs that you offer to people with hearing loss. Watch the newspaper for announcements about such events and plan to represent the organization at them. Please see the guidelines for representing the organization at such events.
HLAA has made it easy for you to assemble materials for such events. Starting January 31, 2014 HLAA will offer an easy-to-use website for ordering signs, banners, tabletop and standing display units, tablecloths, pens and logo clothing. On this same site, you can get packages of HLAA materials to display at the event. (The HLAA materials are free; the state organization or chapter pays only for the shipping and handling cost.)