Last week we had the privilege of hosting Farra Trompeter, Vice President at Big Duck, for a "Developing a Communications Strategy for Your Nonprofit" workshop. This recap is courtesy of Jereme Bivins, social media manager at the Foundation Center.
Communications and fundraising are different. They’re different departments, staffed by different people, and they’re even spelled differently. They’re just… different.
But doesn’t your communications have an impact on your fundraising? Why, yes it does. How your organization communicates with supporters affects the amount of money you raise, the numbers (and types) of volunteers your program staff recruit, and how people perceive you and your work. Your communications matter and everyone in your org is a communicator. So we asked Farra Trompeter of Big Duck to discuss how to put together a communications strategy and make the most of all the channels at our disposal.
Start by thinking about how and why you use your communications channels and tools. For the purposes of this post, let’s focus on external communications. Externally, your communications should amplify your impact. They should tell the story of your organization’s work, engage your current community of supporters, and help you identify new ones.
Once you’ve sorted through your channels, then it’s time to decide how you want your organization to be perceived. Consider the personality and the positioning of your brand – or the style, tone, and unique value statement. Find the verbs that others use to describe your organization by encouraging your staff to think creatively: if you had a mascot, what would it be? What color describes your organization? Whatever questions you ask, stop and consider why you’d use those nouns and verbs to describe your nonprofit. Are those the same words that your supporters would choose?
Based on your assessment and some brainstorming, assemble your communications plan:
1) Set your goals and objectives
2) Define your target audience
3) Develop your strategies and tactics
4) Determine each person’s roles and responsibilities
5) Formulate the work plan and the budget
6) Evaluate your results and tweak as needed
There’s certainly plenty more to learn about an integrated communications plan, how to execute it, and then how to course-correct once you’ve gotten your plan off the ground. To learn more, check out Big Duck on the web, read their blog, or check out their monthly Duck Pond newsletter. And you can check out the slides from Farra's presentation below:
How does your organization handle communications? Do you have a communications plan?