Assign clear communications roles, guidelines

Who speaks for your nonprofit?

When you create your marketing and fundraising materials, newsletter, annual report, appeal letters to donors, or news releases, who coordinates the process, who provides the background information, who does the writing, who edits the material, and who approves it?

If a reporter calls your main office number, does the person who picks up the phone  know who should field the call?

And whether the reporter is transferred to another staff member or decides to call a board member at home, is that person authorized and prepared to speak for the organization?

There is no single correct way to handle any of these kinds of situations. Each nonprofit needs to set its own communications policies and procedures.

But whatever guidelines you set, you should have clearly defined communications roles and responsibilities that all staff, board members and volunteers understand and follow.

If you want your story to be clear, consistent and effective, define the processes and the staff and board responsibilities for creating your communications and speaking for your nonprofit.

And make sure everyone — board and staff — understands and sticks to that plan.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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