Developing a Communications Strategy for Your Nonprofit

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Between never-ending ‘to-do’ lists and new communications channels popping up everyday, it can be hard to find the time to stop and look at the bigger picture. Take a few hours out of the trenches and into a conversation about your goals, audiences, and actions to support your nonprofit’s mission. In a workshop at the Foundation Center in DC, Big Duck’s Vice President, Farra Trompeter, outlined what’s in a communications strategy and a guide for how to create and implement one for your organization.

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Developing a Communications Strategy for Your Nonprofit

  1. 1. Developing aCommunications Strategy #techsense Farra Trompeter | Big Duck The Foundation Center August 9, 2012 bigducknyc.com
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  4. 4. #techsense@farra@bigduck@FCWashington bigducknyc.com
  5. 5. What we will talk about today•  Quick introductions•  How communications helps•  Ways to get your organization communicating consistently•  Strategic communications planning•  Resources bigducknyc.com
  6. 6. Intros…•  Name•  Organization•  Role•  Describe your approach to communications in one word bigducknyc.com
  7. 7. How cancommunications helpyour organization? bigducknyc.com
  8. 8. Communications helps•  Internally – to facilitate the work - Who needs and gets what? - When do they get it?•  Externally – to amplify impact - How will you engage your community - What do you want them to think/do? - What does they want from you? bigducknyc.com
  9. 9. Reasons nonprofitscommunicate bigducknyc.com
  10. 10. Communications can help…•  Provide support/services•  Increase awareness/visibility•  Support policy change•  Help gain support and recognition•  Increase funding•  Change behavior or attitudes•  Recruit volunteers•  Attract members, clients, donors, etc.•  Organize community bigducknyc.com
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  17. 17. Blue slide: be clear about whatyou want to say as anorganization, and how you wantto say it. bigducknyc.com
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  37. 37. Remember to connectwith audiences ontheir terms, not yours. bigducknyc.com
  38. 38. So…what’s in acommunications plan? bigducknyc.com
  39. 39. A communications planincludes:•  Goals and objectives•  Target audiences•  Strategies•  Tactics to engage the target audiences•  Roles and responsibilities•  Work plan•  Budget•  Evaluation bigducknyc.com
  40. 40. Goals and objectives•  Relationship to mission•  Conduct research (audit) - Materials review - Landscape scan of peers - Environmental scan (STEEP) - Understand perceptions through surveys, interviews, focus groups•  Create SMART objectives bigducknyc.com
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  42. 42. Target audiencesTry this exercise:Audience Current Desired Their Desired Perception Perception Needs Actions bigducknyc.com
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  44. 44. User Personas•  Audience Group•  Age•  Gender•  Ethnicity•  Location•  Occupation•  Education•  Personal online behavior•  Motivation and objectives•  Our objectives bigducknyc.com
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  46. 46. Strategies•  What will motivate audiences to do the actions (donate, volunteer, visit) you want them to take?Example: Empower donors to share their stories as towhy they support our work bigducknyc.com
  47. 47. Tactics•  What messages and communications channels should you use to accomplish your strategies?•  How do these channels reinforce the experience of your brand?Example: Ask and feature donor stories in our monthlyenewsletter and weekly on our Facebook page bigducknyc.com
  48. 48. Roles and responsibilities•  Everyone is a communicator•  Who oversees and approves?•  What do you do on staff and where do you ask for outside help (volunteers, consultants, interns)?•  How do you train and grow skills? bigducknyc.com
  49. 49. Work plan•  Create a steady stream of activities•  Repurpose when you can•  Keep each target audience’s needs, wants, and perceptions in mind•  Ensure coordination in timing and impact•  Develop/refine brand strategy and use brand consistently•  Be clear about who will do what & by when bigducknyc.com
  50. 50. Budget•  Staff costs (salary, time)•  Materials development•  Printing and postage•  Software and hardware•  Technology systems•  Consulting•  Travel bigducknyc.com
  51. 51. Evaluation•  Measure impact - Quantitative and qualitative - Benchmark prior to starting - Focus groups, interviews, surveys•  Types of measures: - $ raised - # of calls or requests - # of media hits - # of page views, followers, fans - # of letters sent, petitions signed, etc. bigducknyc.com
  52. 52. Evaluation•  Use data to refine your approach - What’s working and what needs to change? - Are there new messages, channels, audiences? - Who is most engaged? Least? Why? - What messages or content are generating actions? bigducknyc.com
  53. 53. Questions? bigducknyc.com
  54. 54. ResourcesBig Duck•  www.bigducknyc.com•  www.bigducknyc.com/blog•  www.bigducknyc.com/DuckPondE-news•  www.bigducknyc.com/resources/scorecard bigducknyc.com
  55. 55. ResourcesTemplates & Guide•  http://civicactions.com/blog/2010/mar/23/ nonprofit_marketing_plan_template•  http://www.gettingattention.org/downloads/ nonprofit-marketing-plan-template.html•  http://www.writeplacedesigns.com/portfolio/ fcphighperformancecom.pdf bigducknyc.com
  56. 56. Contact Farra farra@bigducknyc.com twitter.com/farra linkedin.com/in/farra slideshare.net/farra bigducknyc.com
  57. 57. Contact Big Duck bigducknyc.com bigducknyc.com/blog facebook.com/bigduck twitter.com/bigduck bigducknyc.com
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