I was seven years old when I first learned about the potential consequences of smoking.
My teacher handed out booklets created by a public health nonprofit in England that clearly laid out how many people die from cigarettes each year and, more importantly, how a person might give up the addiction.
My father smoked a box or two a day. Distressed, I gave him the booklet and urged him to stop. To his credit, he did just that. To this day, he acknowledges that one nonprofit’s handout probably saved his life.
This personal story illustrates the power of handouts and how they can make a difference and help you reach your goals. Below I’ll cover how to improve the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s handouts.
Establish the goal of the handout.
In my days working for the Meningitis Trust, we gave out handouts that shared the symptoms for meningitis in children. The goal was simple: Show parents what symptoms they should look out for.
The handout did more than educate parents, however. It also served as an effective tool to highlight what the Trust did and why they needed support.
So, before you do anything else, establish a goal for what you want the handout to accomplish. Make sure you include a call to action so the people who receive the handout know how to help you accomplish that goal.
On that note, think about what testimony you want to include that shows how you’re already carrying out your mission. This will appeal to the supporters’ emotions and increase the likelihood that they’ll engage with your call to action.
By showing how you’ve accomplished your goal in the past, you’ll establish the trust needed that will reassure your recipients that, should they donate, their money will be put to good use.
Determine the size of your handout.
You don’t want a handout that is too bulky or will be cumbersome for the person to carry around. When designing yours, create one that fits in a person’s pocket, palm, or small bag.
Make sure your website URL and social media profiles are prominent.
In addition to your logo, mission statement, and tagline (if you have one), include your website URL and social media profiles on the handout. You can even include a QR code to lead people to a specific site, like an online donation page.
Why is this important? You want to make sure potential supporters and donors know where they can find your organization and donate online.
Include images on your handouts.
If you can, include images that show how your nonprofit is carrying out your mission and who your nonprofit is serving. Your mission statement and appeals may be strong, but there’s nothing quite like putting a face to the beneficiaries you’re serving. You’ll stir up emotions that will compel people to get more involved and even donate.
Consider inventive extras.
Is there something you can add to your handout that will make it stand out? Think about adding stickers, a peel off-calling card, or some detachable element that can be put on the fridge or stuck on a laptop. This will keep your nonprofit on your supporters’ minds.
Once you’ve created your handout, it’s time to get it out there. You can give it out at fundraisers, hand it to people when you go door to door to educate people about your work, ask local businesses to feature them near registers or on bulletin boards, and send them out via direct mail.
The more time and thought you put into your handout, the better chance you have that your supporters will help you meet your needs. So take the time now and set your nonprofit up for future success!