Asking every staff member and leader to become an effective messenger, and training them to do so, is a high-impact, low-investment marketing strategy for every nonprofit, but one that’s frequently overlooked. It’s the ultimate low-hanging fruit for nonprofits like yours.
Here is the type of training and tools you’ll need to build your colleagues’ message delivery skills. Start with Part 1: Why & What and Part 2: Groundwork before digging in here, and follow with Part 4
1. Invite your entire message team to a briefing and skill-building session: Invite your message team to join you for an in-person messenger training focused on training, practice and feedback.
Begin with a review of the message platform—emphasizing each element’s use and value, and when and how you developed it.
Next, inspire your messengers with specific examples of how their new skills will help them (e.g., next time you’re at a conference or meeting, and are asked what you do, here’s what you’ll say and how it’ll make a difference), and provide concrete models of how this approach is working in colleague organizations (tap your peers in colleague organizations here).
Then train your team members in speaking (when and how to deliver each type of message), from the unchanging tagline to the elevator pitch that must be customized to the interests of the conversational partner.
Ask your messengers to listen hard, as that’s the first step to being an effective messenger, and to share what they hear with the right colleagues throughout your organization. Note: You’ll have to set up an easy feedback system, whether it’s email or a shared document.
Role playing in pairs is a proven technique for increasing comfort level and effectiveness. Practice is the key to confidence!
Note: If your team is geographically dispersed, hold a video training session. This approach works best when facilitation responsibilities are distributed among participants at the various locations, vs. coming from a single location.
2. Create a turnkey message toolkit for your team to refer to, including
- Message platform
- One-page organizational marketing strategy
- Message cheat sheet—email to their smartphones or 3×5 cards for non-smartphone-users— with the message platform, and when, how and why to use each element.
- Messenger hotline and online FAQs for ongoing questions and guidance
- Monthly email outreach sharing success stories and tips to keep your message team focused and confident
- Style guide featuring standards of how to present your organization’s messages and graphics.
You’re off and running. Part Four will guide you in ensuring your colleagues’ messaging skills remain strong and energized.