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Building Internal Support for Communications

This guidance from three long-time nonprofit marketing pros is a great help in building the support across your organization that is necessary for communications that really help to achieve your nonprofit’s or foundation’s goal (a.k.a. strategic communications):

  • Place a communications staffer or consultant in each program team. Karen Lake, former Director of Marketing, W.K. Kellogg Foundation defines her charge as “putting communications to work to build and to expand on the work of our programs.” One resounding success is the Foundation’s placement of a communications manager in each program department to ensure that communications strategies are integrated into each program, from planning to execution.
  • Develop “cafeteria communications,” so you can select from a comprehensive menu of communications products (newsletters, website, etc.) and activities (block parties, speeches, community events) as needed. Joanne Edgar, communications consultant and former Director of Communications of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, recommends that you and your colleagues maintain focus on your organization’s substantive goals. This focus in turn will guide your communications goals and thus, your selection of the communications products and activities that will move your organization toward those goals. Edgar emphasizes that community activities are a vital communications strategy too frequently left out of nonprofit communications agendas.
  • Clarify expectations from the start. Edgar cautions that nonprofit and foundation communicators must identify leadership and board expectations as early as possible in the planning process. For example, if your board chair anticipates a three-minute segment on “Good Morning America” while you are focusing on regional Hispanic media outlets that reach the communities you need to alert about your services, you have a problem. If those expectations (and the related communications activities) are not aligned with your communications goals, make a strong case for your strategy of choice. Doing so proactively will strengthen your relationships with leaders and the board.

Great advice from leaders in the field!

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Nancy Schwartz in Leadership and Board Members, Strategies and Campaigns | 0 comments


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