Creating a Communications Plan¶
Creating an annual strategic plan for communications helps raise awareness, show your organization’s impact , and attract funders .
How to do it!¶
Ask yourself the following five questions:
- What organizational goals are you trying to achieve this year? In the long run?
- Who is your target audience(s)?
- What messages do you want to convey to your audiences?
- What communications tools should you leverage to best reach key audiences: blogging, traditional or social media, e -newsletters or videos?
- How can we measure the results? Did your communications effort reach the target audience? Did you place a blog? How many times was your post shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter?
Answer these questions as a team and create a tactical communications plan. If you don’t have a dedicated staff person, identify a point person for communications.
Be sure to create a work plan to guide you on a weekly basis on how to execute and evaluate your communications plan.
Use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create your plan and Microsoft Excel or an other spreadsheet software to track your progress and evaluate your work.
- The Foundation Center: Developing a Communications Strategy
- Smart Chart 3.0 an online tool to help you make and assess strategic communications decisions.
- Use this template to make your Communications Plan
Sample: Communication Plan¶
Give an overview of your communication plan for the year.
What are your communications goals for the year?
- objective 1
- objective 2
who are your organization's target audiences?
Describe your communications tactics to reach your key audiences and maximize the impact of your communications effort.
- Strengthen the media and communications capacity of your organization.
- Strategically employ a wide array of communications tools, including media placements and social media efforts to promote your organization’s work.
- Creation of an editorial calendar for blogs and other opinion pieces on key issues
- Create or update media products (press kits, fact sheets, briefs) on your organization.
- Maintain a targeted press list of reporters and media outlets.
- Identify,craft and distribute press releases and pitches on newsworthy story ideas to key media outlets and news blogs for placements.
- Monitor coverage in major media on Africa and write opinion piece or Letter to the Editor on critical issues related to Africa and your organization for major newspapers and news sites, such New York Times, Washington Post, CNN.com, Huffington Post, AllAfrica.com, among other media outlets.
- Set up one-on-one informational interviews with key reporters and editors covering Africa.
- Ongoing evaluation of results and outcomes from media and communications efforts.
- Lead media outreach efforts to highlight your oganization‘s influence and contributions at events.
- To raise the visibility of your organization, its mission and partners at events.
- To highlight the impactful efforts of your organization.
- To promote your organization’s ongoing efforts to weigh in on development and philanthropic initiatives at events.
- Creation of an awareness campaign
- Develop a concept for an awareness campaign. o Create a work plan for all aspects of the campaign.
- Develop a social media effort to encourage engagement on the campaign for Facebook page and Twitter.
How will you measure the effectiveness of your annual communications plan?
Developing Effective Messaging¶
You've created a strategic communication plan, now it's time to begin crafting clear and concise messages.
Why is effective messaging important?¶
- Helps you communicate better with partners and donors.
- Conveys your organizational goals and objectives.
How to do it?¶
These questions will help guide you in developing your messaging:
- What do you want your audience to understand about your organization or issue? When people talk about your organization, what do you want them to say?
- What do you want your target audience to know about your organization?
- What actions do you want your audience to take? Be specific.
5 steps to developing your strategic message
Even if strategic message is easy to formulate, conveying it in an easy-to-understand fashion and implementing it are huge obstacles.
Rebecca K. Leet, president of Rebecca Leet and Associates, maintains that the strategy developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) offers a primer for developing powerful messages. That strategy followed five steps, which are as follows:
- Decide what action you want to prompt. The organization decided first what action it wanted to bring about through the articulation of its message. In the case of the CSSP, the goal was to change the way America works to prevent child abuse and neglect.
- Determine who can make that action happen. What is the target audience? Who are the players who can bring about a radical change?
- Determine why those audiences would take the action. This challenging decision involved the realization that the target audience wanted a doable solution and not a great-sounding idea that could be implemented with minimal cost to it and that it wanted better outcomes and making prevention mainstream.
- Confirm that there will be mutuality of satisfaction. Come up with something practical and doable with minimum monetary investment and small but significant changes in professional practice.
- Write the message. The message had to be brief and yet connect to audience desires using audience language rather than organization tone.
Samples: Message Development¶
Message Development Planning Document
This messaging document aims to help guide the development of a core message and key messaging points for your organization.
- Funders: international foundations, government and individual donors
- General Public
About Us: Core Message
- message one
- message two maybe
Core Message Options:
- option one
- option two
Key Supporting Messaging Points
Measuring the Impact of Your Messaging What are the measurable goals to assess whether your messaging is resonating with key audiences?
Areas of Messaging Opportunity
|Communications Tool||Existing Content||Suggested Enhancements||Notes:|
Channels for Communication¶
Your organizations messages should be incorporated in your website, social media, blogs, publications, speeches, videos and other channels of communications.
Your website builds credibility and reinforces your brand identity.
Your website should be visually appealing and feature strong messaging that will resonate with your target audience.
A dedicated staff person should be responsible for regularly updating your website with your organization's latest news and events.
Here's how to do it:
- Clearly state your organization's mission on the homepage.
- Create a current news section to highlight the latest news and developments.
- Feature compelling images and video to illustrate the impact of your organization.
- Highlight social media icons on the website. Displaying the icons is a great way to encourage visitors to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites.
E-newsletters are a cost effective way to keep supporters updated and highlight your success. They go right into your subscriber's inbox and can help generate buzz and fundraising opportunities.
Here's how to do it:
- Create an editorial calendar featuring your news items. Distribute e-newsletters on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Feature relevant information: highlight your success using blogs, photos and infographics.
Blogs are an effective communications tool to promote your organization's news and information. Blogs can help add new content to your website and social media and shape what your supporters read. It's also a great way to create your own press and PR around your organization.
Again, use your editorial calendar to create a regular blog schedule.
Here's how to do it:
- Regularly write blogs on breaking news and organizational updates.
- Feature success stories of your work.
- Highlight resources and empowering How-To tips that would be of interest to your supporters.
- Invite guest bloggers such as a local expert, donors or thought leaders to contribute to your blog.
- Interview your beneficiaries about how your organization has made an impact on their lives and community.
- Create a photo slide show to showcase your mission and work.
Get start with your social network service , use Weibo/Twitter/Facebook/Wechat public account
Documents Every Organization Needs¶
Create a press release before an event or a new project is unveiled to increase press coverage. Pitch your story to print, broadcast and online media before your event. It is important to plan your media outreach:
- Make sure your pitch is newsworthy.
- Create a list of media outlets to reach out to.
- Based on the audience of the media outlet create a tailored pitch with your press release. Contact the appropriate reporter or producer with a pitch email about your story idea.
- Reach out to media contacts by phone and email if you are having trouble reaching them and remember to stay in touch with your media contacts for future stories.
- It's OK to be persistent.
A one-pager - also referred to as a fact sheet -- provides a concise overview of your organization. It introduces your organization and enables partners, donors and potential contacts to better understand who you are. The one-pager is a tangible resource to bring to meetings and conferences or attach to an email to convey your mission.
Remember to assign a communications staffer or another point person to create the one-pager and update it at least once a year as your organization grows.
What information should your one-pager include?
- Background information on your organization.
- Information about your thematic and regional area of focus.
- Highlight outputs, outcomes and impact of programming and number of people served.
- Feature a case study, success story or unique program or project.
- Use infographics and visually appealing ways to display your message.
Pitch Decks (Slide Decks) 介绍项目的PPT¶
A pitch deck is a slide presentation that highlights your organization's programs or new projects to potential donors. A well- designed pitch deck should inspire potential donors and investors to want to learn more about and invest in your organization.
- Slides should be visually appealing with lots of pictures and graphics.
- Explain your organization, the "problem" you are addressing, project activities, and what the solution and outcome will be.
- Don't forget to include your business model, funding needs, management team, key metrics and your timeline.
Annual reports are a great way to tell your story by showcasing your organization's accomplishments and financial statements to donors, potential donors and partners. It can also be a useful marketing piece to accompany your info packet, grant applications and media kits.
- Focus on your accomplishments for the year.
- Use graphics, pictures, statistics and words to show your accomplishments.
- Include information on your financials.
- Consider recognizing your top donors with a donor list.
- After you marvel donors with your accomplishments, include action steps that they can take to help your organization reach its goals for the next year.
- Grant Reporting
- Donor Relations
- Fundraising Plans
Measuring the Results¶
Throughout your communications effort, you should set measurable benchmarks to evaluate whether you are achieving your goals.
Evaluating your communications strategies and tactics will improve the effectiveness of your communications and ensure that your organization is connecting with your key audiences and that your messages are resonating with them.
How to do it?¶
- List three achievable goals to assess whether your communications effort made an impact.
- Did you gain a set number of media placements?
- Did you achieve a high number of "likes" on your blog?
- Did your communications effort help you reach your fundraising goal?
- Did your supporter take action on an awareness campaign?
- Review your communications plan and prioritize the specific communications objectives where your organization would like to measure the result. For each communications objective, conduct the S.M.A.R.T. test.
- Specific - What is the specific communications objective, strategy or tactic that your organization would like to evaluate?
- Measurable - What are your key performance indicators?
- Assignable - Who will implement the communications objective? Do we have staff to consistently carry out the communications effort?
- Realistic - What results can realistically be achieved ?