Are you underestimating the power of communications?
Busy nonprofit leaders tend to focus on the visible, tactical stuff of communications—the emails and tweets and mailings that go out into the world and bring back donors, advocates, and participants.
What would be different at your organization if you viewed communications as an essential, universal strategic function instead?
Thinking of marketing or communications as just a series of externally-facing tactics can be a big missed opportunity, because most of the power of smart communications happens behind the scenes—infusing your entire team of stakeholders with the skills and tools to express a consistent, coherent voice.
Every person who works for your organization is a communicator on some level, whether they’re building partnerships with peers or relationships with participants or connections with advocates or rapport with potential hires. They need tools and strategic support to work at the top of their communications game, just like they need a computer that boots up properly in the morning and lights that turn on when they walk into the office.
So what if we thought beyond the websites and brochures and instead treated communications as a key utility underpinning every aspect of a nonprofit’s work and mission?
What if everyone at your organization looked to your in-house communications team for helpful, expert advice on getting the word out or inviting the world in?
What if programs, development, HR, board, and leadership could all reach out to one, centralized resource for strategic messaging points or insights about how to engage a key audience?
It would be transformative.
Everyone’s efforts would become more efficient and effective. Your programs team would have better tools to recruit and advance your mission. Your board would become more effective ambassadors. You would develop close alignment between what you do, what you say, and how you say it.
And once you’ve made sure your messages, visuals, and strategies all ladder up to and support your organization’s most critical priorities, you could step back and watch the clarity and focus flow through the communications team to every corner of your organization and out into the world.
I’m not pretending it’s easy work.
Assembling a skilled, well-structured team and evolving a culture that treats communications as the lifeblood of your organization is challenging and requires real investment. But wouldn’t it be worth it if you could make clear, effective external communications feel as simple and magical as turning on a light?