Blog posts, tweets, likes, chats, tools that make your photos more powerful, and sites that offer millions of potential viewers. It’s enough to make any nonprofit anxious about opportunities it might be missing and puzzled about how much of its limited resources should be directed towards keeping up with it all. The digital landscape can be mesmerizing, but if your organization is well grounded in the basics of your message it should be much easier to navigate.
Michael Levine of Flywheel Communications advises nonprofits to focus on “big picture” strategy by starting with an analysis of your audience and what is important to THEM (not YOU). Consider the key messages that will move them to the action you want them to take and then assess the most effective methods of reaching and engaging them in your work. Start with this “Check List”.
Here’s some useful advice for nonprofits that don’t have a lot of time to spend on marketing and communications:
- Conduct a quick overview of your current communications.
- Look at your staff/board for internal expertise or interest. Authorize time for research, supplement with outside resources (webinars, web sites, blogs, workshops, books, consultants, etc).
- Start simple— review or create a one page identity sheet.
There are a slew of great resources online. Nancy Schwartz writes a blog to help nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and is often sharing case studies and tips she’s learned from clients. Start with her free Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template. Also, Network for Good offers frequent posts on its NonProfit Marketing blog.
There are bloggers that monitor changes to digital tools and report on ways nonprofits can take advantage of these redesigns. See RAD Campaign’s post on Web Design Trends to Watch Right Now, Kivi Leroux Miller on 10 Insanely Useful Free Twitter Tools for Nonprofits, and Social Media Today 6 Ways Non-Profits Can Use SnapChat.
Tools to help turn data into graphics and tell a compelling story can also be useful. Beth Kanter suggests 3 Must-Have Productivity Tools for Creating Visual Content for Social Channels.
- Nonprofit Next resource platform offers tips, tools, samples and templates that you can download and use right away — What You Need, When You Need It
- Communications Strategy Check List
- Spin Project Communications Leadership Institute
- Framework for Strategic Communications, CCTV
- An Introduction to Vermont Folk Life Center (Identification “two-pager” model)