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Navigating a Nonprofit Leader’s Hesitancy Around Thought Leadership

By James Seaton for PRNews

Nonprofit executives often build up years of experience addressing gaps in education, affordable housing, healthcare, animal welfare, voter registration and other social issues that can be leveraged through thought leadership in the media. Yet it can be easy for them to shrink at the opportunity.

Their hesitations are grounded in legitimate fears. Leaders may balk at commenting on any issues that are remotely political based on concerns that they will lose their 501c(3) status or crucial funding from government grants and contracts. Leaders may also be wary of alienating some of their key stakeholders by making hardline statements on a controversial issue or policy. Lastly, executives may question the legitimacy of their voice in different conversations based on their personal and professional backgrounds.

The bottom line is nonprofit leaders are human, care deeply about their mission, and would never want to jeopardize what they, their staff and their partners have built. As public relations professionals, it’s our job to address their fears and demonstrate the value of thought leadership for advancing their work.

Here are three ways to persuade nonprofit leaders to consider pursuing the pivotal communications vehicle of thought leadership.

Think Audience First

When approaching nonprofit executives, shift your focus away from the goal of placements. Instead, focus on audience and impact. Ask the central question, “what’s on the minds of the people you serve?” or “in this policy and advocacy landscape, what do your stakeholders need to hear from you?”

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Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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