Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organization: Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Plan, 2nd Edition
Chapter 1 Getting the Most Out of This Book.
Strategic Communications Plan Framework.
Structure of the Workbook.
How to Use This Workbook.
How to Use the Web Site.
Readiness for Strategic Communications Planning.
Chapter 2 Strategic Communications Planning Process.
Why Strategic Communications Matters.
Benefits of Strategic Communications Planning.
Roles and Responsibilities in Strategic Communications Planning.
Communications Action Team.
Communications Audit Team.
Crisis Communications Planning.
Crisis Communications Team.
Crisis Control Team.
Take the Time, Make the Time.
Chapter 3 Step One: Preparing to Plan: Essential Building Blocks.
Strategic Communications Is Grounded in the Mission.
Task One: Review the Organization’s Mission Statement.
Task Two: Review the Organization’s Program Goals, Objectives, and Financial Priorities.
Purpose of the Communications Audit.
Components of a Communications Audit.
Conducting the Communications Audit: Methodology.
Task One: Plan the Audit.
Task Two: Conduct Interviews.
Task Three: Inventory and Analysis.
Task Four: Present Findings.
Task Five: Conduct Additional Research (Optional).
Chapter 4 Step Two: Foundation of the Plan: The Situation Analysis.
Critical Community Partners and Stakeholders.
Chapter 5 Step Three: Focusing the Plan: Target Audiences.
Understand Your Audience.
Profile Each Priority Audience.
Research Your Audience.
Readership Surveys or Membership Questionnaires.
Exit Interviews or Evaluation Surveys.
Chapter 6 Step Four: Fostering Audience Support: Communications Objectives.
The SMART Test.
Cycle of the Communications Process.
Create the Communications Objectives.
Communications Objectives: Some Examples Using the Cycle of Communications.
Chapter 7 Step Five: Promoting the Nonprofit Organization: Issue Frames and Message Development.
Define the Key Themes.
Media Role in Framing.
Episodic and Thematic Frames.
Conducting a Framing Analysis.
Reframing: Underage Drinking.
Messages that Resonate.
Building a Message Platform for the Organization.
Chapter 8 Step Six: Advancing the Plan: Vehicles and Dissemination Strategies.
Criteria for Selecting Strategies.
The Organization’s Relationship to the Audience.
How the Strategy or Vehicle Will Influence the Audience’s Perceptions.
Controlling the Message.
Effort to Implement.
Potential Uses with Other Audiences.
Evaluating Existing and Potential Strategies for Meeting Communications Objectives.
Case Study: Future Generations.
Case Study: Planet 3000.
Strategies and Vehicles to Meet Communications Objectives.
Strategic Use of Communications Vehicles.
Building a Comprehensive Portfolio of Communications Vehicles to Support the Communications Objectives.
Chapter 9 Step Seven: Ensuring that the Plan Succeeds: Measurement and Evaluation.
Steps in the Evaluation Process.
Concepts that Have Driven the Strategic Communications Process.
Measuring Success in Achieving Communications Objectives.
Tracking Communications Activities.
Measuring Communications Impact.
Monitoring the Progress on Communications Objectives.
Finalize the Report.
Chapter 10 Pulling It All Together: Creating the Plan.
Building the Communications Plan.
Putting It All Together.
Creating Organizational Ownership.
Messages to Support the Communications Plan.
Tips for Building Support.
Building the Case for Sustainable Capacity.
Money: If It Is a Good Idea, You Can Sell It.
Strategic Communications Plan Template.
Appendix 1 Planet 3000 Strategic Communications Worksheets.
Appendix 2 Essential Communications Tools.
Appendix 3 Elements of a Style Manual.
Appendix 4 Expanding the Organization’s Coalitions and Partnerships.
List of Worksheets.
SALLY J. PATTERSON is the President of Radiant Communications, Inc., a strategic communications firm that counsels nonprofit leaders on organizational issues including communications planning, executive coaching, and leadership transitions. Based in Washington, D.C., she has more than thirty years of strategic communications and public policy expertise including ten years with public opinion research firms. She has provided strategic communications consultation and training to more than 700 nonprofit organizations.
JANEL M. RADTKEconsidered a pioneer in open-access communications among nonprofitsbrought home to many the importance of the person in the technology equation. She was the founder and president of Radiant Communications, Inc., until her death in 1999. Before that, she garnered twenty years of experience helping nonprofits and educational institutions shape communication strategies and navigate a rapidly changing technological environment.
Welcome to the website for Strategic Communications Planning for Nonprofit Organizations. Here you will find the worksheets and documents to help you organize your planning sessions.
The material is set up to address five strategic challenges addressed in the book:
If you aren?t certain where do begin or what your priorities should be for the planning process, complete Worksheet #1.
A communications audit is a comprehensive analysis of an organization?s communications-internal and/or external-to review communications needs, policies, practices, and capacity in order to improve organization efficiency and effectiveness.
Nonprofit organizations, depending on their missions, generally deal with two types of crises: emergencies and controversies. Emergencies are predictable events that cause havoc for an organization or the people it serves and that may harm its ability to perform its mission. There are five major types of emergencies:
The responsibility for handling emergencies rests primarily with the staff, guided by disaster and risk management plans with board members providing collateral support where appropriate. Controversies are crises that threaten the organization?s reputation. Fraud accusations, legal disputes, or leadership conflicts are examples of controversies that challenge an organization?s integrity and effectiveness. Responding to a controversy usually requires board involvement and, possibly, board leadership.
The crisis communications plan addresses six essential questions:
Crises do not usually get resolved with a single press statement or public announcement. It is important for crisis planners to realize that information needs, target audiences, and messaging will evolve over time, as more facts become known and as events unfold. The best way to deal with a crisis is before it happens. The strategic communications planning process provides an excellent opportunity for the board and staff to develop contingency plans for dealing with crises. A crisis communications planning team made up of both board and staff members should be created. Because crisis situations usually involve board engagement at a higher level that most communications work, both perspectives must be reflected in the planning process.
The crisis communications planning team is responsible for assessing the possible crises that may confront the organization and for developing the framework for a plan of action in the event of a crisis. Crisis situations require articulate and well-timed communications with all stakeholders and the media. Crisis communications planning is a two-step process. The first step, performed by the crisis communications planning team, is to determine what challenges could affect the organization, what prevention strategies can be implemented, and what materials need to be compiled in advance of a possible crisis. The second step is to form the team that will lead the process when a crisis actually occurs, the crisis control team. Although ,members of the crisis communications planning team may be members of the crisis control team, decision makers at the top of the organization-the chief executive and the board chair-should provide the leadership when a crisis actually occurs.
Everything you need (except the coffee, M&M?s, and other trinkets to motivate your team) is included in this section. Here you will find the worksheets, the template for the strategic communications plan and the Planet 3000 case study.
Grab the following documents: strategic plan, financial plan, program and operational plans, technology plan, fundraising plan, organizational development plan and any other documents that should shape your thinking and you are ready to begin.
When the development team works with the Communications Action Team on strategies for approaching foundations, developing the background for proposals and grant applications and training staff to make face-to-face presentations to prospective donors, the case for sustainability is the platform to use.
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