Remember Your Own—Make Internal Communications Matter

AmandaaldrichOur guest blogger Amanda Aldrich is Regional Communications Specialist with the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. Her experience as a volunteer, board member, executive director and regular-old-employee shape the opinions she shares here, which do not represent those of the American Red Cross.

I’m always moving a million miles an hour, and I know it’s likely the same for you. When you’re flying, it’s all too easy to forget the little things that help keep us afloat as we’re running from one meeting to the next. But it’s vital to keep your team (and others) in the loop.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “One more email to read? No thanks!” Seriously though – keeping your team, other colleagues, volunteers, and board members abreast of your activities pays off in the long run.

Conscious and consistent internal communications:

  • Boost fundraising. Let’s remember that many volunteers are donors and vice-versa. Why miss the chance to share the great things you’re doing with others who can a) help out and b) support that work?
  • Set things up for the long term. Not only do you need a succession plan for yourself, but also the rest of your staff. If just one or two people know the ins-and-outs of your major projects, what happens when they move on?
  • Build relationships. There’s something about working within a team and knowing you can rely on each other that in the end makes the team better and more productive. We fail as a team, but we also win as a team. It also stops the rumor mill from churning.

Here are five ways you can fit communicating with your colleagues into each jam-packed day:

  1. Share the knowledge and the stage: Send a colleague to meetings, rather than yourself—key volunteers, interns, entry-level staff
  2. Make it easy to share updates, news and to-dos: Set up a private Facebook group (cheap and easy) or contact your local IT guy to create a simple employee intranet. Share content that’s fun, as well as the work stuff.
  3. Say no to meetings: Do you really need to have a meeting or can you have a casual conversation and accomplish your task? Don’t make it more complicated than it is.
  4. Launch Monday Downloads: Each week I share the top five things my colleagues need to know. It’s bulleted, color-coded, short, and sweet.
  5. Listen to, ask and learn from your team and other colleagues.

What are your best practices or challenges for internal communications? Please share them here.

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