Nonprofit Communications Planning


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Presented by Megan Lee, See3 Communications as workshop for the Women In Development North group. Marketing and communications take place today in an attention economy. When time and focus of your constituents is at a premium, your strategy and approach must earn and retain their attention in order to tell your story, convey your value, and engage your constituents in your mission.

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  • First, we’ll cover “5 new rules of the game” which are a collection of points meant to levelset & acknowledge the landscape we’re communicating in today and how it has changed.Then, we’ll walk through a Communications Strategy approach called the Smart Chart. It is designed to help identify the key messages & tactics to be used in your day-to-day communications as well as where those communications fit into the overall plan. We’ll spend most of our time in the middle two sections doing a deeper dive.
  • Insane amount of information on a daily basis
  • Be Social means Listen AND…. 12:1 ratio of adding valueAmnesty International USA posts an interesting story about how only 5 members of congress bothered to show up for a girl’s testimony about life under drones. Their post linked to a blog post with more info, but also fed back on comments to equip and motivate those who reached out to them.
  • Content should be newsworthy, unique, controversial, timely, immediately useful and/or funnyOrganization bears the burden of proof here. Ideas:- Listen to your audience online and let them know you hear them by making change.- Don’t spam or blast out marketing messages constantly, people will become numb to them.- Don’t “can” your messages, in social media it’s ok to have personality, in fact you should. People want to feel like there is a person at the other end of what’s coming at them.- Be careful not to spread misinformation. Always know your facts. When in doubt, double check.- Always remember that anything you put on-line can and will be used against you.- Every time you send something out ask yourself if it’s useful. - Ask questions- On Twitter, Retweat things you found useful or share blog posts or other good resources throughout your network- Figure out what people are looking for and help them find it, even if you don’t provide it- Target people that you are most certain will be interested.
  • Be Real means having a voice, recognizing and leveraging that voice. What would you say in person? Conversational tone. Okay for them to know there’s a person on the other side.
  • So naturally inwardly focused, by putting some outwardly focus out there you can strengthen and grow community. Puts you in other conversations with other people. Takes intentionality.Know – go to conversations, don’t just try to pull to youKnit – connect to each other, strengthens your role as a leaderOrganize – crowd funding possiblyGrow – recognize a need for new people and go after thatTransform – implicit measurement
  • From Spitfire Strategies and Communications Leadership Institute. Avoid assumptions, have solid reasoning for your decisions. OR acknowledge assumptions and find a way to plan.Goals: How do we know what to say? How do we know where/when/how to say it?
  • Doctor to change practice, Board members to change Corporate Social Responsibility Policies, Legislatures to change
  • Internal: what staff resources tools do you have to use, VolunteersMedia mavens, or communications barriers ingrainedAccess to research, data or partnerships and coalitionsReputationExternal: Present state of the debate?Timing ConsiderationsOther organizations working with or against youMisconceptions/misinformation to overcome
  • Frame: least likely. Not if people know you, but know your issue.Fortify and Amplify: Likely if you’re in a good position. Bringing an issue to completion. Do not need to shift the conversation but expand and move forward.Reframe: Likely if you’re losing the debate. Don’t continue to fortify and amplify if you’re losing.
  • Throughout the Process, not just at the end! Makes it much more painful and likely to be avoidedDecision metrics vs vanity metricsMap to goalsGoogle AnalyticsLanding PagesFacebook Insights
  • All great questions
  • Building buy-in is incredibly valuableThink up & down & across the org structure as well as outside the org. Board/Key Stakeholders.Don’t let your campaign be a surprise to your closest constituents. Bring them in early, give them tasks and goals to make it go into their networks.
  • Formalize & Socialize the plan internallyOperationalize the plan
  • Graphic to show
  • Nonprofit Communications Planning

    1. 1. Communications Planning Presented for the Women In Development North group November 2013
    2. 2. About See3 Since 2006 we've been helping organizations to find and realize their vision for better online communications. Every day we're creating strategies and media that have impact for our clients' goals like fundraising, advocacy, recruitment, awareness and more. OUR TEAM OF AUDIO-VISUAL PRODUCERS, STRATEGISTS, MARKETING PROS, DESIGNERS, AND DEVELOPERS ARE COMMITTED TO BRINGING YOUR GOOD WORK TO THE PEOPLE INVESTED IN YOUR ISSUE.
    3. 3. See3 Core Services Online Video Web Design & Development Online Engagement
    4. 4. Agenda • 5 New Rules of the Game • Communications Strategy Approach: • Program Decisions • Context • Strategic Choices • Communications Activities • Measurements of Success • Reality Check • Wrap Up
    5. 5. 5 New Rules of the Game Communications Revolution with the Printing Press Control & Command
    6. 6. 5 New Rules of the Game Communications Revolution with Social Media Connect & Collaborate
    7. 7. 5 New Rules of the Game Rule 1: Live in the Attention Economy
    8. 8. 5 New Rules of the Game Rule 2: Be Social Think about “listen and” 12:1 ratio of adding value
    9. 9. 5 New Rules of the Game Rule 3: Add Value Otherwise: Content should be newsworthy, unique, controversial, timely, immediately useful and/or funny
    10. 10. 5 New Rules of the Game Rule 4: Be Real About tone and personality No parrots or ventriloquist dummies As well as Transparency Excerpt from Charity:Water “Personal Annual Report” email “we expected your proof to be ready in September, but delays in the field have put us behind schedule”
    11. 11. 5 New Rules of the Game Rule 5: Strengthen the Network Know - map the issues, people and conversations Knit - connect people to each other, be a weaver Organize - bring people together for collective action Grow - create ways to bring new people into the network Transform - evaluate the purpose, success and next steps
    12. 12. Smart Chart Approach Six Step Plan 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Program Decisions Context Strategic Choices Communications Activities Measurement Reality Check Created by Spitfire Strategies
    13. 13. Program Decisions Identify the Broad Goal • • • • Think organizational mission Vision for change Long term Big hairy audacious goal
    14. 14. Program Decisions Identify the Objective • • • • Behavior or Policy Change Should support the broad goal SMART goals No silver bullets Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound Examples from Smart Chart: Save the children Pass legislation this year to ensure every child in the state has access to quality health care Save the environment Increase the number of households recycling in our community by 5 percent this year End foodborne illnesses Establish a single federal agency that oversees food safety by the end of next year
    15. 15. Program Decisions Identify the Decision Maker Who makes the decision that resolves your objective?
    16. 16. Context Scans Internal External Strengths Opportunities Weaknesses Threats
    17. 17. Context Define your Position Frame Reframe Fortify & Amplify
    18. 18. Strategic Choices General Public is never an audience Activity Work to Identify: • • • • • • Audience Readiness Core Concerns Theme Message Messenger Tap into your audience’s existing concerns to help make the issue personal to them. Watch for insider and/or industry speak which audiences will ignore
    19. 19. Communications Activities Activity Focus on 1 audience Work to Identify: Tactics by Audience Timeline Assignments Budget
    20. 20. Measurements MEASURE! Look for decision metrics instead of vanity metrics.
    21. 21. Reality Check • Is the strategy doable? • Are your resources in line with strategy? • Are you motivating the right people to take the right action? • Are your choices consistent? • Are there any assumptions that need to be tested? • Is there buy-in from your organization?
    22. 22. Reality Check Is there buy-in from your organization?
    23. 23. Where does this approach fit in? The Smart Chart combines Communications Strategies & Marketing Plan content. Communications Strategies - Audiences - Messages & Messengers - Channels - Near Term Marketing Plan - Fit into overall Strategic Plan - Budgets & Resources - Includes Long Term planning
    24. 24. Where can I start? Content Calendars!
    25. 25. Where can I start? • • • • Identify the Quick Wins Start the Conversation Internally Start the Conversation Externally Consider Lean Marketing Key Links: Full Smart Chart 3.0 PDF Lean Marketing Article Editorial Content Calendar Tips & Ideas Beth Kanter's Networked Nonprofit and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit Books Communications, Marketing, and Planning Link Roundup from National Council of Nonprofits
    26. 26. Thank You! Contact me: Just email