If you’re feeling like the people or departments in your nonprofit organization are not on the same page, it may be time to create a comprehensive communication strategy.
Putting this in place allows your entire team to operate from a common and standardized plan, ensuring they are equipped to relay correct information to each other, and to your donors/constituents.
Creating and implementing a clear communication strategy should be at the core of your systems to allow for accuracy to flow at every level of your organization.
What is a Communication Strategy?
A communication strategy is the documentation of your organization’s communications goals, communications channels and target audience. This document expresses both who you want to reach and how you plan to do it.
A communication plan outlines how you will achieve your strategy, including a detailed schedule and description of responsibilities.
The Difference between a Communication Strategy and a Marketing Strategy
Communication strategies and marketing strategies are complimentary but not the same. While they have similar elements, they serve different purposes.
The goal of a marketing strategy is to influence or motivate your target audience, stakeholders or financial supporters to take a desired action. Its entire focus is on those outside the organization.
When creating a communication strategy, you’re developing compelling messages and telling stories about your organization. These are often created to enhance your marketing strategy and are generally the reason marketing is successful.
Marketing and communications go hand-in-hand, which is why many organizations combine these areas into one department or position. However, it’s still important to understand their separate purposes and why they matter.
Why You Need a Communication Strategy
A communication strategy ensures the important information is delivered to the right people through both internal and external communication. Done properly, a communication strategy will help staff members be on the same page and give them the information they need to do their jobs properly.
Effective communication strategies lead to more productivity, instil trust within employees and create a consistent and positive image in the marketplace.
Small and mid-level charities and nonprofits benefit from hiring experts to help them craft their communication strategies and communication plans. This is because many organizations don’t have the personnel with the required skills or knowledge (or time) to create an effective strategy
How to Write a Communication Strategy
Here are the areas to include in a communication strategy.
1. Style and tone
Many organizations have an internalized style but when putting together a communication strategy it’s important to document everything from how you write dates, names and places, which style guide you follow, how you use punctuation, what your tone of voice is and what words your organization does and does not use.
2. Key messages
What are your nonprofit’s key messages and themes? Collect them and document them in this section.
3. Communications channels
How many touch points do your constituents have with your organization? List every way you interact with your supporters. Here are a few to include:
- Social media channels
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
- Promotions/public relations
- In-person visits
4. Communication Guidelines
What are the ways you communicate with donors? What does the donor communication flow look like? And what are your guidelines? Document your organization’s approach to appeal letters, donor thank yous, newsletters, accountability, etc.
5. Lapsed Donors
What is your lapsed donor strategy? What does the communication flow look like? Document your approach to lapsed donors and every step and communication channel that’s included.
6. Monthly Donors
How does your organization recruit donors and convert them into monthly supporters? What is your retention strategy? List the ways you communicate with monthly donors and document your strategy and approach.
7. Annual Communications Rhythm
Most organizations have a regular communication flow and may even have it scheduled. Document your entire annual communications rhythm in this section.
If you’re ready to explore what creating a communication strategy with the crew at Anchor Marketing could look like, get in touch. We approach every project with a strategy-first mentality, making sure you have both the tactical suggestions and executional support to make your strategy successful.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t have sailors with extra time, or find yourself without a marketing crew, perhaps ours at Anchor Marketing can lend a hand. Come visit us at the beach or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.