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New Year, New Nonprofit Communications Goals: A Guest Post by Roxanne Joffe

January 11, 2016

knowyoursupportersThe new year is all about starting fresh and finding new perspective. Setting goals — both personal and professional — is only natural. But there’s always a catch. The trick is creating goals you can keep instead of falling into the pesky two-week resolution trap. (We know — we’ve been there, too.)

The same is true in the social sector. There’s no better time than now to refresh and revitalize your nonprofit’s communications strategy. But with limited time and resources, where do you start and what steps can you take to succeed?

We’re sharing our top five things to know as you begin this new year and hope it will help you set the tone for successful nonprofit communications in 2016.

  1. Learn to write it down. We’re not talking about writing a thesis. A one or two-pager can really help everyone in your organization understand your communications plans for the new year. Writing it down — whatever it is –shows that you care enough to develop something with goals that you can measure and have thought through some ways to make it happen.
  2. Prioritize strategy before tactics. Does this send a shiver down your spine? It’s like when you’re told to eat more vegetables. Most people don’t want to do it and prefer to skip to the cupcakes instead.Strategy is the building block for everything — it guides what tactics you choose and gives you the best chance to meet your communications goal. Strategy is about the cohesion of the timing of what you want to share, how to say want you want to say and who to inform before the entire community hears about your nonprofit’s announcement.
  3. Get to know your audiences. Your audience is donors, you say? Not all donors behave in the same way. The more you know about your supporters and stakeholders and tailor what you want to say and how you deliver it, the more responsive they will be. This translates to more donations, volunteer time, positive word of mouth about your organization and more.In the communications world, we call this defining a persona. What is it really? Digging deep and creating a written profile — a story — about your targets. If you put pen to paper and really define this group –create a fictitious name, add a picture, dive into their lifestyle, beliefs and habits — you will uncover new ways to reach them and help them become loyal to your cause.
  4. Think quality before quantity. It can be easy to over commit to digital channels in your communications strategy. Rather than feeling the pressure to produce a certain number of blogs or tweets per week, try listening and engaging on a limited but strategic basis. Set up social streams based on topical and mission-driven hashtags that will provide opportunities to grow your audience and increase engagement.
  5. Simplify in a multi-channel environment. It seems like every time you turn around there are new communications channel options being introduced — including some you may not have heard of (Viber, ShareWall, RebelMouse to name a few). You don’t have time to evaluate all of them — let alone try to be an expert at each one. Pick two or three that will reach those you care about and focus your efforts there instead of spreading yourself and your resources too thin.

That wasn’t so painful, was it? Here’s to a more strategic and successful 2016 for you and your organization!

Special thanks to strategic communications guru Roxanne Joffe, Founder of Magnify Good, for sharing these smart communications tools with us. Learn more about Magnify Good online at www.magnifygood.com.

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