It’s a fact that there are unmet needs in a lot of communities. Equal access to affordable housing, education, health care, nutritious food, encouragement to be creative, etc. It’s also a fact that as nonprofits, we work really, really hard to put together programming that sometimes, no one shows up for. We want programming that fills the unmet needs in our communities.
There are two possibilities for this dilemma– either our programming is good and our publicity needs work, or our programming isn’t really meeting the needs of our communities.
The solution, of course, is more complicated than identifying the possible causes and finding a fix. The reality is that some services are used, to the point of capacity, and are fabulous. And some services do need better publicity and for these, we need to think about how evolving technology, the digital divide, communication networks, etc. need to be navigated. And some services are really just not useful, or take more money than they should.
No answers here, just thoughts. Publicity is hard. I hate when events spam my email and Facebook message me all the time. It makes me more aware of the events, but it doesn’t really make me want to go more. I want to go to events that already seem popular, and where I know at least one other person, and generally seem well planned, and on a topic I’m interested in. I think personal encouragement is the best form of outreach, but it’s limited. Still, if we provide flyers and get other people interested, it’s my belief that people will spread the word.