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You ever think much about the way your small not-for-profit is perceived in terms of context in your community. I mean, how do you frame the issues that you're about?
I got to thinking about this today when I read this article at NPQ about how an advocacy group is urging LGBT groups to stop asking for gay marriage as a rights issue, but reframe it as a love and commitment issue.The group seemed to feel that it was seeing the proposed legislation as a rights issue that was causing it to fail and that if the proponents would only appeal to the common desire of people to share romantic commitment, the cause would do better.
Why Framing is Important
This is one of those areas where we may think we've got the question and answer right without remembering that there's more than one way to ask a question - or frame an answer. The right frame helps you craft the right message and everything you do to support your NP in social media has to target that message. You're tweeting or posting that message; you're interacting with others in a way that reinforces that message. And yet, so many times we think the choice is obvious, simple, and we don't think it any farther than that.
Don't kid yourself; the frame you put around your goals is important.
NPQ had another article in the same newsletter I found interesting because I saw it as being related to the rights/commitment reframing issue. This article dealt with how corporations are using programs and even nonprofits to market to children in schools. The article uses Kohl's as an example, where they had a program to give money to schools based on how many votes a school could get on FB. Parents and supporters voted and found themselves on Kohl's mailing lists. NPQ also points out how marketing is done using a corporation's charitable arm, which makes it seem less like marketing.
The corporations are re-framing their goals through a concerting marketing push, resulting in a perspective that puts a very positive spin on them.
I hope it's obvious that I'm not advocating using framing to avoid being clear about what you're trying to accomplish. But I'm saying that there may be more than one way to state your case to your community and you might want to give some thought to whether or not you're using the right one for your nonprofit.
How did you decide to frame your small nonprofit? Let me know by leaving a contribution in the comment box.
Google has now opened Google+ to branded pages for institutions, businesses, and nonprofits. Here's how to create your small nonprofit's page on Google+.