Some people are unstoppable.
Case in point: Jasmine Gillians, the founder and president of the Jazzie Cares Foundation. Despite the demands of running a full-time business, Jasmine makes time to give back to her community.
Jasmine launched Jazzie Cares Foundation in 2017, with the mission of improving the quality of life for single parents and low-income families. Throughout the year, Jasmine leverages her event planning expertise to create events that engage the community and benefit her cause. And every year, Jazzie Cares Foundation continues to grow.
“The lead up to our fundraising events is busy and I admit – I’m nervous. But when I’m there, it’s almost an out of body experience. We meet hundreds of people at our events and create relationships. Every year we get more community backing and support,” Jasmine said.
Jazzie Cares Foundations’ signature events are community baby showers where 100 single moms-to-be receive clothes, diapers, bottles, and toiletries. New events include a “Loads of Love” laundry essentials event and a “Back 2 School” school supply event. Fundraisers from ice cream socials to bowling nights help the foundation raise funds needed to purchase the items the Jazzie Cares Foundation distributes.
Jasmine launched Jazzie Cares Foundation because of her own experience growing up. There were times when her family needed help but couldn’t find it. “Single parent and low income families face incredible work/life balance issues and are more likely to live in poverty. Jazzie Cares Foundation builds lasting relationships by providing everyday resources so that families can achieve economic stability and improve their lives,” Jasmine said.
With over 12,000 registered nonprofits in Kansas City, Jasmine understood that she would face huge competition for community donations, corporate sponsorships, and grant funding. But she also knew her focus on providing baby care items fulfilled an unmet need in her community. Her goal was to establish Jazzie Cares Foundations’ identity and shine a spotlight on its mission.
Jasmine’s solution was to establish a strong social media presence so that potential donors could find the foundation online and get excited about its mission. “I knew we had to promote, but I wanted to do it in a fun way. I wanted our materials to stand out and set us apart,” Jasmine said. PosterMyWall became Jasmine’s secret weapon for creating all of her marketing materials–social media, banners, fliers, posters, and even the Jazzie Cares Foundation logo.
Over time, Jasmine expanded her marketing to other channels. “We love social media but if you want a bigger audience, don’t limit yourself to just one type of marketing tool. I started with Facebook but now I use Instagram, post flyers, hand out business cards, and send mailers,” Jasmine said.
For each fundraising or community outreach event, Jasmine develops a campaign with consistent branding across all her marketing channels. She keeps her frequent social media posts relevant with layout or content tweaks, adding messages like “Only 3 more days!” or “Thank you to our sponsors!”
Her approach is working. Jasmine has added new support programs and grown her nonprofit’s reach from just one annual event to four events per year.
How can you grow your nonprofit with effective communications? Here are Jasmine Gillians’ 7 tips for growing a nonprofit:
Learn the requirements
Start by researching state and federal guidelines for nonprofits to understand what’s required. You’ll need to apply for licenses and follow IRS rules for nonprofits.
As an official 501(c)3, Jazzie Cares Foundation gained credibility and increased its fund-raising capabilities. Jasmine recommends that every nonprofit make the initial investment in completing the necessary paperwork, setting up a governing board, and understanding the IRS guidelines.
Control your message
“I like to get an idea and bring it to life without delay,” Jasmine said. By developing her marketing materials inhouse, she doesn’t just save money. She controls the message, the timing, and the tone of her outreach.
Jasmine uses PosterMyWall to create professional graphics quickly and easily. Often she posts directly to her social media platforms right from PosterMyWall. If she needs a print version of a graphic for a poster or flier, she uses PosterMyWall’s one-click resize and then sends the file to a local printer.
Put yourself out there
Relationships are the lifeblood of your nonprofit, so it’s important to let people get to know the real you.
Jasmine lets her personality shine through her communications. She creates posts that deliver information in the same style, language, and tone as she would in person. Often she includes pictures of herself and she wraps current events into her messages. “People respond to authenticity. Don’t be robotic, show them that you’re with them,” Jasmine said.
Keep your outreach balanced
Timing and content are important. While you want to keep in contact with your supporters, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many posts. And it helps to broaden the conversation – you can’t always be asking for money.
Jasmine maintains this delicate balance by putting herself in her donors’ shoes to decide how often she herself would want to be contacted by a nonprofit. She posts on social media every 3 or 4 days and uses a monthly newsletter to provide additional information. Since donors like to know where their money is going, Jasmine provides bullets that equate monetary donations with program deliverables. “Your $15 donation buys a basket full of laundry care, household and PPE items for a family.” Finally, she balances requests for donations with community information and inspirational quotes.
Have someone else review your materials
Before sending out communications, it’s a good idea to have someone else take a look at them. Jasmine has a colleague who reviews her marketing materials for errors and suggests design improvements before anything is printed or shared electronically.
Don’t limit yourself
It’s easy to stick with what you already know but Jasmine recommends that instead, you should decide on the best communication platform to reach your audience and then make it happen. Don’t settle for flyers if what you really need is a poster or a banner. And don’t limit yourself to social media only if what you really need is a flyer.
Since launching her nonprofit, Jasmine has created an expanding set of marketing tools – posters, flyers, banners, brochures, social media and more. “I discover a new feature every time I use PosterMyWall and it keeps my communications fresh. The one-click photo background remover makes it so easy to delete the background from any photo,” Jasmine said.
Start with the people you know
Jasmine involved her friends and family in the Jazzie Cares Foundation from day one and then each of them brought in additional contributors. “You’ll be amazed at how effective networking is. Tell everyone about your project because you never know who they know,” Jasmine said.
Growing a nonprofit isn’t easy. But, as Jasmine demonstrates, it can be done. All it takes is persistence, dedication, and perhaps a little help from PosterMyWall.