As a digital media consultant, one of the first questions I ask clients is how their website and social media work fits into their communications plan. More often than not, this question is met with either uncomfortable silence or just laughter.
“Communications plan? Who has time for that?”
The reality is that you can’t afford to work without a plan. This is a guarantee that you will be wasting precious time and resources. Would you consider embarking on a new programme at your NPO without careful thinking, planning and budgeting, assessing the skills and time needed, and monitoring and evaluating your progress? Think of your website and social media as long-term projects, and apply the same rules and priorities as you would apply to any other project.
This does not have to be a tedious, painful process.
At its heart, your communications plan is a simple document outlining what you’re trying to communicate, who you’re trying to communicate with, and what you would like people to do with the communication they receive. It does not need to be a lengthy document. Create a focused, simple, working document that brings everyone involved in communications on the same page.
Your communications plan should outline:
Find your organisation’s voice and articulate your core message.
Exercise: What is your core message?
Define your different audiences, and how you interact with them
Outline your media channels and which audiences are most likely to be reached with each channel.
Now that you have your message, audience, and channels, create a basic table outlining how this will work.
|Fundraising - we need urgent funds for our feeding scheme,||
|Twice a week.||Post a story about people who have benefitted from the feeding programme. Detail the impact a donation would make.|
|Journalists for potential media exposure||Tweet regularly, mailing list once.||
Write a media release targeting specific food security issues in the community. Outline how you are addressing these issues. Encourage donations to support your cause.
* We will be adding resources on developing your message, understanding your audience, and some free tools you can use for evaluation.
Ruen Govinder is the founder and director of Hashtag Nonprofit. She has over 20 years of experience in consulting and managing online communications and technology for the development sector. She produced a series of e-books on communications strategies for nonprofits, and has worked with clients across Africa and in the United States. http://www.interiority.co.za