What effective nonprofit communications teams get right -- worksheets
What Effective Nonprofit Communications Teams Get Right
A Workshop with Kivi Leroux Miller
Four Approaches to Measuring Overall NPCOMM Effectiveness
1. The Simple Star Ranking
How would you rate the overall effectiveness of your nonprofit’s communications? Color in the stars.
1 = Not at all Effective 2 = Slightly Effective 3 = Somewhat Effective 4 = Very Effective 5 = Extremely Effective
2. The Marketing Maturity Assessment
Let’s look at the extent to which your organization has adopted NPCOMM best practices, using this scale:
1. Unaware - We are unfamiliar with this practice.
2. Aware - We have basic knowledge of this practice.
3. Ready - We are ready to begin implementing this practice.
4. Capable - We’ve started implementing this practice and are gaining experience.
5. Skilled - We are confident in our implementation of this practice.
6. Expert - We are consistently outstanding in our implementation of this practice.
7. Authority - We are a thought leader and innovator on this practice.
Marketing Maturity Indicator Your Rating
(1 – 7)
Defining specific target audiences or core constituencies, rather than
communicating to “everyone” or the “general public.”
Segmenting email and print mailing lists, and targeting advertising, so
that people see content from you that is highly relevant to them.
Creating content centered on the recipient, including clear calls to
action, and often using the second person (you, your).
Using a consistent and recognizable voice, style, and tone throughout
Regularly incorporating visual content such as photos, video, and
graphics into your communications, rather than relying on text alone.
Using an editorial calendar that says what messaging is going out when
and in which communications channels.
Building content curation and repurposing into your editorial process,
rather than always creating original content from scratch.
Managing your website within a Content Management System (CMS)
that multiple people on staff know how to update.
Managing your mailing list with a Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) tool or database that allows you to track information,
interactions and activities for everyone on your list.
Establishing and measuring key performance indicators for your
primary communications goals and channels.
Knowledge Zone = Aware – Ready, 10 - 39 Points
Proficiency Zone = Capable – Skilled, 40 – 59 Points
Mastery Zone = Expert – Authority, 60 – 70 Points
3. The CALM Assessment: How CALM Are You Now?
Answer quickly and honestly using your gut reaction. Don’t try to puff up your score or to punish yourself either.
This is about helping you identify where you are already making good progress and where some new focus could
Answer on a scale of 1-5 for how frequently each statement is true for you:
1 = Never
2 = Rarely
3 = Sometimes
4 = Very Often
5 = Always
Number Statement My Score (1-5)
1 Everything on my to-do list is clearly connected to organizational goals.
2 I coach other staff on becoming better communicators.
3 In the absence of leadership or direction, I take charge.
4 I hold regular meetings with staff about our communications plan and
5 I simplify routines and create repeatable processes to make our
communications work easier and more predictable.
6 With each project, I know who I am communicating with, the message to
them, and the channels to deliver that message to those people.
7 I ensure that other staff (e.g. program managers) understand how their
specific work fits into our broader communications plan.
8 I manage the process of creating and publishing content so that everyone
knows their roles, responsibilities, and deadlines.
9 I invest time in building a trusting and cooperative relationship with my
10 I regularly and systematically listen to people both inside and outside our
organization to better understand their perspectives on our work.
11 I use every piece of content I create in at least three different ways.
12 I measure the results of my work and track trends over time.
13 I promote and facilitate open internal communications among staff members
about our external communications so there are no surprises.
14 I can make good communications decisions quickly and those decisions will be
trusted and supported by others.
15 I use an editorial calendar to manage when and where we publish our
16 I plan for the unexpected so I can react quickly and appropriately when
circumstances change or plans go awry.
17 I give adequate time to important projects, even if that means saying “no” to
18 I encourage our staff to use software and other tools that make our
communications work more efficient.
19 I follow best practices, but also experiment freely.
20 I understand my own productivity style and manage my time and energy well.
Calculating Your Score
Move the score you gave yourself into this chart, matching up the statement numbers.
For example, for the first statement, if you gave yourself a 3, you would put a 3 in the first block under Logical. If
you gave yourself a 5 on the second statement, you’d put a 5 in the first block under Collaborative.
Collaborative Agile Logical Methodical
2. 3. 1. 5.
4. 9. 6. 8.
7. 11. 12. 15.
10. 14. 17. 18.
13. 16. 19. 20.
C Total: A Total: L Total: M Total:
Your CALM Score:
Total your scores for each column. Consider your highest total your top strength.
Then add those four totals together to get your CALM Score.
Reviewing Your CALM Scores
If your top score is on Collaborative . . .
Your top strength is being collaborative. You focus on “the who.” You know that great communications work
depends on strong personal relationships and partnerships with others. Build on this strength by focusing here:
• Help staff see the big picture of your communications work and how their work fits into it
• Hold regular editorial meetings where staff are invited to share what's coming up
• Build listening -- inside and outside the organization -- into your regular routine
• Empower others to create great communications themselves with guidance and tools
• Commit yourself to a culture of open and consistent internal communications
If your top score is on Agile . . .
Your top strength is being agile. You focus on the “when and where.” You know that great communications work
requires you to adapt to constant change and to perform well under pressure. Build on this strength by focusing
• Build an exceptional and trusting relationship with your executive director
• In the absence of leadership, take charge yourself and "lead from the middle"
• Develop "simple rules" that help you make decisions more quickly
• Expect the unexpected, and plan for it
• Create agile content that you can use and repurpose in many ways
If your top score is on Logical . . .
Your top strength is being logical. You focus on “the why.” You know that great communications work demands
that you stay focused and grounded. Build on this strength by focusing here:
• Choose communications goals that are well-integrated with other organizational goals
• Ground everything in three questions: Who are we talking to? What's the message? How do we deliver
that message to those people?
• Focus on priorities, ensuring that the important doesn't lose out to the urgent all the time
• Measure the results of your work and track the trends
• Follow communications best practices, but experiment freely
If your top score is on Methodical . . .
Your top strength is being methodical. You focus on “the how.” You know that great communications work
comes faster and easier when you follow a good routine and work through challenges step by step. Build on this
strength by focusing here:
• Use an editorial calendar, even if you are the only one looking at it
• Simply your work routines with formulas and "simple rules" that make your work processes easier
• Establish content creation, review and publication processes for working with others, including roles and
• Use software and other tools that help your team communicate more efficiently
• Understand your own productivity style and how to best manage your own time and energy
4. Your Job Confidence and Satisfaction
Which describes your level of satisfaction in your current position?
5. Very Satisfied
3. Neutral – Neither Satisfied or Dissatisfied
1. Very Dissatisfied
Which of the following best describes how you feel about your nonprofit marketing and communications
LEARNING: I have a lot to learn and many knowledge and experience gaps to fill.
COMFORTABLE: I am comfortable with most of the work, but want to keep getting better at it.
VERY CAPABLE: I am very capable, confident, and effective and am looking to take my work and
organization to the next level.
None of these apply to me.
My Next Steps . . .
Summary Sheet to Share with Kivi for Her Research
(Optional but Very Much Appreciated!)
Star Ranking. How many did you color in? _________________
Marketing Maturity Score. What was your total score? _______________
CALM Score. What was your subtotal score for each letter and your combined total?
Combined Total: ___________
Job Comfort Level (5 = Very Satisfied, 1 = Very Dissatisfied):
Job Satisfaction Level (Learning, Comfortable, Very Capable, None):
Any Comments or Suggestions Regarding These Assessments?
Optional Contact Information (for possible follow-up)