Originally published here on November 24th, 2015.
What does your cause organization currently have in R&D? Nonprofits and government agencies usually don't talk about R&D, but the concept is an important one. What interesting, new ways are you exploring to connect with your audience, whether clients, funders, or volunteers?
If the answer is nothing, choose something.
Knowing that budget often is an obstacle, here are three free R&D projects you can start this week (because we know that many of us are not really working on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week):
1. Start an Instagram account and post a Picture of The Day that captures how your cause is advancing your mission.
2. Write a weekly blog (whether on LinkedIn or not) that gives us insight into your work, your people, and your clients. Tell us the stories that matter and inspire us to get involved.
3. Create a YouTube channel and post a video of the week with someone in your organization, whether a client or a staff member. Homeboy Industries posts their "Thought of the Day" nearly every day. Every one is meaningful and some are incredibly inspiring. I have one playing in the background as I write this.
What are you trying to learn?
The images and videos that matter to your followers. The stories and messages that work and get shared. What inspires people to get involved.
How do you measure it?
For Instagram, it is "re-grammed" or "favorited" the most. For your blog, what sparks comments and "likes". For YouTube, it is views and "likes".
You can say that you don't have the budget to learn about what matters to your audiences, but usually you don't have the time. That still is a real challenge, but it is a different challenge with different solutions.