Add it to your job description: you are now in charge of creating community.
Lauren Fernandez wrote in 2010 about branding your organization, and one of her key points is that you must act as a community manager. She wrote:
Speaking engagements and conversing across different social media platforms is a great way to promote Brand or Agency. It’s not about you. View yourself as a driver of thought and knowledge that supports what the agency or brand stands for. On the agency side, those in the audience can tune themselves to strategy, tactics and objectives, and can get the new business wheel turning. Creating relationships with audience members based on ‘Agency with a Individual Twist’ can help foster that.
The ideas apply to nonprofits. Here’s what her paragraph reads by replacing a few words:
Public appearances (like informational tables at 5ks and corporate functions) and conversing across different social media platforms is a great way to promote your nonprofit. It’s not about you (it’s about the cause). View yourself as a driver of specialized thought and knowledge that supports what your organization stands for. On the organization side, those that work with you can tune themselves to strategy, tactics and objectives, and can find new supporters, donors, and volunteers. Creating relationships with these audiences can help foster community.
In other words, what your nonprofit does is extremely unique, if you can provide content based on that. Who else but your organization to blog about the realities of cancer, homeless teens, or food scarcity in your city? Who else could organize all the people in your region who support school reform? You have your competitive advantage, your unique value proposition. Use it to build a community of those hungry to support the issue, and in turn, you.