Build communications planning into your routine

Communicating effectively is hard work, and it takes a lot of planning on a regular basis.

Whether you do it in-house or hire a consultant to help you, developing a communications strategy or plan is just the beginning.

A communications plan guides you in deciding your message and story; the audiences you want to reach; the materials and content you will need; and the process, responsibilities and schedule for producing your materials and content.

While your plan is a guide, it needs constant guidance, oversight and adjustment. Circumstances change. Unanticipated events, opportunities and problems arise. You need to be prepared.

Who is responsible for communications at your nonprofit? Does that person report directly to the CEO? If not, to what extent is the CEO involved in thinking and making decisions about communications? What is the board’s role? Does it have a standing communications committee, or a committee that has communications as part of its responsibilities?

While each nonprofit needs to find its own answers, it should have a plan that addresses those kinds of questions.

Effective communications is fundamental to the way nonprofits operate their organizations, deliver services, raise money, collaborate with other organizations, and advocate for their cause.

So it’s important to give your communications a high priority, and to make sure your staff and board are closely involved in developing your communications strategy and overseeing it on an ongoing basis.

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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