An engaging communication strategy is vital for any business, regardless of the size of the organization or whether it is in the private or nonprofit sector. Good communications enable you to share and clarify your organization's message, boost visibility and awareness, and generate engagement and support. This key element is involved in every charitable campaign, project, or event, so you need to develop a nonprofit communication strategy your organization can count on.
In this blog post, we’ll share some insights about communication strategies for nonprofits and how you can develop one that gets results for your mission.
What is a Nonprofit Communication Strategy?
A communication strategy for nonprofit organizations is an intentional, custom framework that allows for seamless communication with donors, media, beneficiaries, volunteers, stakeholders, and the public. It's more than a messaging system or a way to distribute the latest information; a strong communications strategy serves as a roadmap for creating, delivering and managing consistent and meaningful messages with impact—supporting the organization's goals and mission.
Why is an Efficient Nonprofit Communication Strategy an Important Organizational Task?
We touched on some reasons that a communication plan is vital for nonprofits, such as communicating a clear and consistent message, boosting visibility and awareness, and facilitating engagement.
Here are some additional reasons to help you understand why a communication strategy is essential.
- Clarity of Messaging: A well-crafted communication strategy helps nonprofits express their values, mission and goals, clearly and consistently.
- Awareness and Visibility: Nonprofits rely on consistent visibility and public awareness for continuous support. The right messaging ensures the nonprofit's initiatives, achievements and impact are in the public consciousness to help attract more contributions.
- Build Relationships: With stellar messaging, nonprofit organizations can build strong relationships with donors, the public and stakeholders. Strong messaging helps donors stay connected to a cause, volunteers feel engaged, and beneficiaries have a deeper understanding of how their lives are impacted by the organization's efforts.
5 Steps to Create an Effective Nonprofit Communications Strategy
A high-performing nonprofit communication plan answers the core questions: What? When? Who? Where? How?
We've come up with five steps to create an effective nonprofit communication strategy to gain all the benefits needed to run a successful nonprofit company or fundraising event, using the basic questions to guide your nonprofit toward success.
1. Set Goals and Objectives (What?)
Essentially, what do you want your communication strategy to do? There are many different types of goals you might choose. A perennial favorite set of goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resourced and Time-Bound (SMART), which help point you toward the broad outcomes you want to achieve through your communications — but any set of goals that helps you do that will work.
Consider establishing goals such as seeking fundraising from corporate donors, building branding and awareness, and engaging your local community.
Your objectives should always reflect the ways in which you and your team are working on the goals you want to reach for optimal transparency and trust-building.
2. Establish a Timeline and Frequency (When?)
It's important to determine the overarching timeline for sending out communications from your nonprofit. It's just as important to determine how much communication your audience wants — you don't want to flood someone's inbox, turning him or her off from your messaging completely.
Further, the frequency is different for diverse types of communication. For example, you might publish one or two blog posts per week, several social media post each week and send out one email daily. If you have a fast-approaching event, you might increase the communication frequency for your most effective channels.
3. Know Your Audience (Who?)
Knowing your audience, speaking to them directly, and providing them meaningful information are essential ways to drive engagement with the right donors and stakeholders. For instance, do you want to gain new donors or update long-term existing donors? If you want to send regular emails or newsletters, either separate the different donors manually or find the right donor data segmentation support to make it easier.
4. Clarify Your Message and Create Content with Integrity and Transparency (Where?)
Clarify your brand and message, ensuring it is simple, consistent, and easily understood. Focus on the high-level point you want to make each time, such as your mission, why you need financial support and the donor's impact. By sharing these things, you are providing effective storytelling, which frequently resonates with donors. You will build trust, transparency and honesty in your messaging that inspires people to support your organization and keep coming back.
Share your messages through the channels listed above and others, including blog posts, social media posts, print media, television advertising, and radio commercials when applicable.
5. Evaluate Your Strategy (How?)
It's important to regularly check to see how your nonprofit’s communications strategy is doing. At a minimum, take the time and effort to evaluate your strategy and planning process on a monthly basis. Review your past work to see how effective it was, using key performance indicators (KPIs) and choosing the best metrics to determine whether you are on track to meet your communication goals.
Here are some KPIs to consider in your evaluation process:
- Website page views
- Fundraising ROI
- Donor and donation growth
- Donor retention rate
- Email open and click-through rates
- Gifts secured
- Beneficiary satisfaction rate
- Program efficiency
An effective communications strategy will allow your nonprofit organization to reach your audience and create meaningful engagement that satisfies donors, stakeholders, and beneficiaries. Our UST HR Workplace can help you develop, launch and maintain a powerful communications strategy wherein you foster connection through targeted outreach and helpful, timely information and prompts for action.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you serve your population.