Developing a strategic communications plan will be less overwhelming if it is viewed as a series of steps. Here are some questions to ponder before you create your plan. If you know the answers to these, the creative process should be smoother.
- What is the mission/vision of this organization? Where are you today as an organization, and where do you want to be in three years? (Be specific.)
- What is the overall goal(s) of this organization? Do our current communications efforts support our goal?
- What barriers must be overcome to reach overall goals? What are the benefits of reaching the goals?
- How visible is our organization now? Do the people we need to reach know we exist?
- What are the current skills of the staff? Do we have the resources to bring in new people with communications expertise? Can our budget support a consultant?
- What does the annual budget for our organization look like? Does our budget align with our priorities? Does our budget sufficiently support communications efforts?
- Are we familiar with what similar nonprofits are doing with strategic communications? What do we admire in others?
Plans can be organized and created with more detail, but a communications plan should include the following six components:
Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organizations: Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Plan (Nonprofit Law, Finance, and Management Series) by Janel M. Radtke is a comprehensive, hands-on guide that helps nonprofit organizations get their messages across.
The National School Boards Foundation, through their Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education, has created an Education Leadership Toolkit. This Toolkit includes information on creating a communication plan.
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