Working in nonprofit marketing and communication teaches us many things, but perhaps most importantly, that we’re all in this together. No matter the size or type of our organizations, we face similar challenges every day. We strive to advance our missions with limited budgets and manpower, juggling multiple priorities and often battling misconceptions about the value of good marketing.

Some days are tougher than others. On those challenging days, it can be helpful to recall a few key affirmations that have helped me through my years in nonprofit marketing:

1. “I can do hard things.”

This might sound a bit cliché, like something out of a motivational poster, but it’s a vital reminder. We are stretched thin at times. Have competing priorities. Outlandish external expectations. A new process, project, software, audience, or leadership idea. Every new challenge seems daunting at first, but remember, it’s always hard, until it isn’t. Remind yourself why the work is necessary, focus on the goal, and push through the discomfort (within reason). It’s through these challenges that we grow.

2. “I was selected to be here.”

You’re here because you have something valuable to contribute and because you understand this discipline—perhaps better than anyone else in your organization. Often, we find ourselves defending our work, budgets, strategies, or the necessity of our roles, especially in nonprofits where the importance of marketing and communications can be underestimated or misunderstood. Embrace your role as the subject matter expert in communications and marketing.

Remember, you were chosen for this position to offer crucial insights and drive your organization’s mission forward. Even if your role is multifaceted, remember that someone trusted you to manage this vital area. Own it, nurture it, and speak with authority.

3. “Spend the money.”

It’s natural to want to save as much as possible to direct funds towards your cause. However, investing in the right tools, education, and marketing strategies is crucial. Effective outreach requires resources, and being too frugal can mean missing out on opportunities to amplify your message and impact.

4. “Embrace failure.”

Not every initiative will be a success, and that’s okay. Each failure is a lesson in disguise. If you’re not failing, you’re likely not innovating or pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Recognize that every setback is a step forward in disguise, giving us lessons that can refine your strategies and improve future outcomes.

For instance, if a fundraising campaign doesn’t meet its target, instead of viewing it as a setback, see it as a chance to analyze what didn’t work and why. Perhaps the promotional methods didn’t resonate with your audience, or the timing was off. Remember, the path to success is often paved with lessons learned from failure—embrace it as part of your growth journey.

5. “My mask first.”

Working in nonprofits often means putting others first, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself, set boundaries, and ensure you’re not heading towards burnout. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary. Make self-care a priority, not an afterthought. By maintaining your well-being, you ensure you have the energy and clarity to give your best to the causes you champion. Just like in airplane safety, securing your mask first is essential before assisting others.

Remember these affirmations, especially on the tough days. What you do is crucial, and sometimes, just reminding yourself of these simple truths can provide the strength to persevere. Say it with me: “What I do is important and necessary!”

Published On: May 8, 2024|Categories: Your Nonprofit Marketing Career Path|