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7 communications policies your nonprofit cannot live without

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So what makes up a world class communications, PR and marketing department? ...

So what makes up a world class communications, PR and marketing department?

In one simple word: Structure. Set aside experience, skills, budget, internal bureaucracy and all the other issues that exist within every organization…and it doesn’t matter whether you are two person team or part of a forty person team in place at most major universities. The bottom line is that without structure and a solid foundation of support, your organization’s communication’s department will never be able to function with the efficiency, creativity, effectiveness and level of organizational respect that is necessary to create effective marketing strategy that supports the organization’s strategic plan.

So where do you start?

What policies, procedures and plans create a solid communications foundation?

In this white paper written by Jarid Brown, we explore seven organizational policies, plans or tools that no growth-oriented nonprofit can afford to be without. These policies create the foundation and framework for successful organizational communications and marketing.

To learn more visit http://www.jaridslog.com or follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/advancinghope

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    7 communications policies your nonprofit cannot live without 7 communications policies your nonprofit cannot live without Document Transcript

    • Seven communication policies your nonprofit cannot live withoutWithout structure and a solid foundation of support, your organization’scommunications department will never be able to function with efficiency,creativity, effectiveness and organizational respect... Copyright 2013 - HCM Brown www.hcmbrown.com
    • What makes a world class communications,PR and marketing department?In one simple word: Structure. Set aside experience, skills, budget, internal bureaucracy and all the otherissues that exist within every organization...and it doesn’t matter whether you are two person team or part ofa forty person team in place at most major universities. The bottom line is that without structure and a solidfoundation of support, your organization’s communications department will never be able to function withthe efficiency, creativity, effectiveness and level of organizational respect that is necessary to create effectivemarketing strategy that supports the organization’s strategic plan.So where do you start? What policies, procedures and plans create a solid communications foundation?In this white paper we explore seven organizational policies, plans or tools that no growth-oriented nonprofitcan afford to be without. These policies create the foundation and framework for successful organizationalcommunications and marketing.Marketing PlanA marketing plan starts by creating a strong, strategic marketing foundation for your organization. The planaddresses the goals and objectives for your organization based you’re the organization’s strategic plan. If yourorganization does not have a strategic plan…you may as well scrap any marketing efforts. Likewise, if thestrategic plan has not been disseminated to staff, then a marketing plan is again a pointless exercise; since allnonprofit communications and marketing efforts should align with the goals of your strategic plan.The marketing plan addresses how you will package services, develop unique propositions, and position yourorganization based upon your organization’s audiences, competitors and emerging markets. A marketing plandefines and establishes how your organization is to be positioned, and creates strategies for getting there. A marketing plan should be thorough, specific and flexible and reviewed annually.Strategic Communications PlanWhenever I mention that an organization needs both a marketing plan and strategic communications plan,I’m often met with the inevitable: “Aren’t they the same?” question. The answer of course is a resounding no.In simplified terms, a marketing plan is designed to identify and achieve organizational goals and objectives.Whereas, a communications plan is a more specific plan on how the organization will communicate, or deliver,a marketing plan to your audience. A communications plan often forms a part of a larger marketing plan, butcan also stand alone.Marketing plans, although flexible, seldom undergo major change; unless, there is a change in the strategicvision and plan of an organization. However, a communications plan may change often, depending upon newtechnologies, market habits, market saturation, or any number of additional factors.The communications plan identifies specific advertising initiatives, promotional schemes, channel budgets,marketing tools, and milestones. A communications plan is seldom a singular plan. Often you will createsmaller, quicker marketing & communications plans for new projects or events that may arise during the year. A Marketing Plan is defined by an organization’s Strategic Plan. A Communications Plan is defined by an organization’s Marketing Plan.Trying to implement a Communications Plan without first developing a Marketing Plan would be similar tosailing the high seas on a cloudy day without a compass. You may be moving, but you have no direction.HCM Brown © 2013
    • Communications CrisisPolicies and Procedures Communications PlanI’m often surprised how few communications In today’s age of instantaneous news, high profiledepartments have established policies and events have underscored the need for both a crisis/procedures for their departments. Although emergency plan and a crisis communications plan.marketing and communications plans provide the Although many organizations take the time toframework for the development of efficient and carefully develop emergency plans and procedures,consistent messaging, published departmental policy they often overlook the development of aand procedures control the workflow, establish roles comprehensive crisis communications plan.and provide understanding of the communicationsprocess across organizational programs. If operations are directly affected, the need to notify clients, families, regulators, government officials andA communications department’s primary function other community members may be immediate andis to provide support to organizational programs. patience among these audiences may be runningAs such, well-organized, successful departments thin. As importantly, establishing procedures andoften function more as independent firm, rather pre-planned messaging for media, communitythan internal production houses. As a result, these supporters and others will help your organizationdepartments utilize policies and procedures to control the message, maintain positive relationshipsbetter manage workflow, establish clear production and minimize negative publicity.schedules, establish a clear scope of availableservices, and define departmental roles. Whether A crisis communications plan also addresses theyour communications team consists of 3 members unfortunate circumstances in which an event doesor 45 members, running your department as a not directly impact operations, but may impact publicbusiness unit will create a more efficient and happier perception of your industry sector. Such was theworkforce. case in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, when media outlets created a misleading and inaccurate tie between autism and planned violence. A crisis communications plan allowed organizations such as Autism Speaks to react definitively and quickly to media reports, develop specialized educational materials and position themselves as an authority on the issue.Visual Identity& Style Guidelines Social Media PolicyCommunications professionals are often the first As more nonprofits embrace social media and digitalpeople to complain when a department manipulates marketing, policies and guidelines to govern the useor changes an organization’s logo. What is even of social media have become aworse is when a communications professional necessity. As a marketer, I would tell you that therealters official colors, chops a logo apart or otherwise is no better natural market to spread the messageabuses the visual identity of an organization. Yet, of your organization than your own employees.the question is whether or not your organization has However, understanding the need to protect theestablished clear branding/visual identity guidelines? viability of the company, no organization should allow free reign when it comes to social media.A communications department bears the Rather, your organization must find a balanceresponsibility of protecting the organization’s identity between empowering employees, protectingand establishing oversight for the proper usage of employee rights, workplace productivity, protectingthe organizations name, colors, logos and other brand identity and protecting IT infrastructure.visual elements. Moreover, the communicationsdepartment is responsible for establishing a A well-laid out policy should bring togetherconsistent messaging across the organization. executive leadership, human resources, MIS, andAs a result, every organization should establish a communications personnel to draft a comprehensivevisual identity and style guide that departments policy that empowers employees, providesand employees can freely access to assure proper education, protect the company and establishes aorganizational branding. clear boundaries.
    • Organizational Master CalendarAs organizations grow in terms of programming and scope, so does the need for an organizational mastercalendar. There is nothing more frustrating as a marketer than not being aware of an event that has plannedfor months. Yet, as a marketer, there is no one to blame but yourself. There is no department within anorganization that has a greater need for a master calendar, yet many communicators rely upon the good willof other departments to notify them in a timely manner. One of the best policy changes that your organizationcan make would be to establish an organizational master calendar and assign curation of the calendar toa communications staff member. Then, take an active role, identify key personnel across programs andperiodically (as part of a schedule) call those individuals to see what updates need to be made.About the author Where To Start Crisis Communications Planning Jarid Brown is the owner of HCM Brown, Ready.gov provides a great starting point for developing youra digital marketing firm, and the Director of organization’s crisis communications plan.Online Interactions for The Hope Institutefor Children and Families in Springfield, http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/crisisIllinois. Communications Policies and ProceduresJarid Brown has established himself as apowerful voice in the nonprofit marketing The University of Wisconsin-Madison Communicationcommunity. His work in creating integrated and Marketing Department provides a great example ofnonprofit marketing strategies, has earned communications policies and procedures.recognition throughout the nonprofit http://universityrelations.wisc.edu/policies/industry with case studies on multiplenonprofit marketing websites, a cover story in Likewise, Georgia Perimeter College Office of Marketing andthe November 2011 edition of FundraisingSuccess Magazine and inclusion as the Public Relations provides another outstanding example offeatured story of the first chapter of the 3rd Communications Policy and Procedures.Edition of Web Marketing For Dummies in http://www.gpc.edu/mpr/#.UT0jKlfCZ8EJanuary 2012. Social Media PolicyJarid can be contacted via linked in:www.linkedin.com/in/jaridbrown Social Media Governance list of social media policies http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.phpAbout HCM Brown Social media policy presentation from OrgSpring At HCM Brown, we work with you http://www.slideshare.net/craiggrella1/social-media-to design and develop customized, creative policy-for-nonprofitsdigital and traditional marketing solutionsincluding a full suite of consultative andtechnical solutions. Nonprofit Social Media Policy Workbook from IdealWare http://www.idealware.org/reports/nonprofit-social-media-We specialize in marketing consulting, digital policy-workbookmedia strategy development and onlinemarketing solutions including website design Visual Identity & Style Guidelinesand development. We create solutions thatare marketing-driven, professional, easy to The University of Wisconsin-Madison Communication anduse, and integrated with your brand identity. Marketing Department provides a great example of such For more information visit us online at guidelines. http://universityrelations.wisc.edu/policies/ www.hcmbrown.comHCM Brown © 2013