We have shared with you in previous blogs that we believe that nonprofit communications should not be just a side project, but a centrepiece of our organizational strategy. The communications strategy is the tool we use for sharing our organizational raison d’etre. It is the mechanism that gives voice to who and what we are to our community, stakeholders, client organizations, supporters, partners and others. At PLC it also forms part of our strategic goal, ‘knowledge sharing’; by researching, identifying and sharing great articles, blogs, links, etc. around nonprofit leadership and development, we’re helping current and rising leaders access information and resource that can support leadership journeys.
We are frequently revisiting and revising our communications strategy. This means going back to where we started; looking at the original intentions, reflecting on what we’ve delivered over the past few years, identifying what worked and what didn’t, understanding how we can be better and, also, appreciating how far we’ve come. All of this work propels us forward.
Our strategic goals are critical to the communications strategy. They steer the tactics toward the impact and outcomes we’ve identified. They help to shape and inform where we’ll take the communications strategy moving forward. As such, our communications strategy is only as strong and impactful as our overall organizational strategy and its delivery.
We help other nonprofits in Peel to develop their strategic plan and we’d encourage everyone to view communications as a key part of their strategy implementation. We have collected resources to use in our own work and to share with others. These 8 articles are where we got started. We thought they might be helpful for you too!
1. ‘What is Strategic Communications?’ from Idea. Maybe you want to start by defining what strategic communications mean for your organizational purposes. This article shares how and why we got to pinning strategic goals to our communications strategies. This article helps us understand the underlying purpose of a Communications Strategy.
2. ‘Developing a Communications Strategy’ from Knowhow Nonprofit. If you want to know how to get started, what the structure of the strategy could look like, and what elements you might want to include in your strategy, have a read here. These step-by-step instructions are laid out in plain language and it’s easy to get a sense of what the final product should look like.
3. ‘Communication Plan Template’ from Upleaf. This downloadable Word template let’s us get started on our plan right away! Plus, the webpage goes through each point found on the template and provides prompts and/or explanations to inform our process.
4. ‘Nonprofit Communication Strategy: Determine your key messages’ from Communicate and Howe. With this piece we start to dig a little deeper into the nitty-gritty of our Communications Strategy. Here we learn more about developing and tailoring key messages to our audience for our communications strategy.
5. ‘Communications Toolkit’ from Cause Clarity. Though this free, downloadable PDF toolkit is no longer available (but apparently coming soon!) the webpage contains a wealth of accompanying resources that can still help us create our strategy. Learn from links and templates like ‘Competitive Analysis Template’, ‘Measuring Communications Results’ and more! Bookmark this page in order to check back and find the toolkit once it’s released.
6. ‘How to Create a Nonprofit Communications Plan from Scratch (Part 1)’ from Allison Carney Consulting. Allison asks some important questions here that can help us get some clarity on who we’re actually talking to in our communications strategy. This is also helpful to come back to (in conjunction with ‘Part 2’) when we’re planning communication strategies around specific events.
7. ‘Kickstart Yourself with a Communications Grid’ from Nonprofit Marketing Guide. If you love templates, organization, spreadsheet planning and grids, then you’ll love this guide! A very clear and simple structure for managing our communications.
8. ‘Steps Every Nonprofit Should Take Before Creating Its Strategic Communications Plan’ from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. This accessible and fun-to-read ebook is similar to an online course in strategic communications; rich in content and extremely usable, you won’t regret this download!
Do you have resources around strategic communications that you’d like to share? Then we’d love to hear from you! You can post them here, on our social media, or email us at email@example.com.
Until next time,
The PLC Team