Nonprofit Communications Strategy: Set a timetable and budget?

Part of a series: How to create a nonprofit communications plan

Numbers And Finance

Setting a timetable and budget may be optional

I suggest that these next two sections of a nonprofit communications strategy are optional. But depending upon the expectations of your organization, your supervisor and other senior staff, one or both may be important to include.

A strategy is different than a plan

I see them as being optional because of how I see a strategy being different than a plan. I see a strategy as being more big picture and a plan as being more a checklist which in this case is about implementation. So while I see setting a timetable and a budget as being important, I see them as more appropriate to developing an annual plan of what you’re going to do and when.

I don’t see it as being a great use of time to get deep into detailed research before the bigger picture is approved. Naturally, you keep resources including budget in mind as considerations but to me that means understanding whether the resources are existing or possible within the strategic direction of the organization. Ballpark numbers (i.e. educated guesstimates) are likely good enough.

These comments apply primarily to the overarching communications strategy. Naturally though, what is expected of you internally trumps whatever I think.

When strategy and budget must be included

For a more limited strategy, timeline and budget are critical to include and how I proceeded for Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region’s awareness campaigns. Even then though, I like to get agreement on the tactics and how they are expected to work together before getting into a granular level of planning.

Set a Timetable

I find timelines are optimistic at the best of times and so I’d hesitate to include one unless I had a firm idea on when the implementation of the strategy will begin. Or I’d keep them as broad as possible (ie. summer 2014 or fourth quarter) until you are ready for more specific planning.

I can certainly see predicting which pieces of the strategy are to happen over the next year and at what stage down the road. It can help keep you organized and able to manage your workload.

For a more specific / time-limited strategy, I recommend making a list of all the activities that will take place:
• before the launch of your communications campaign
• at the time of the launch
• as a follow-up

Determine Your Budget-

Having a budget is becomes critical for a more specific / time-limited strategy. Be sure you know:

• How much can we or do we need to spend?
• How and when will we spend it?

What do you think? What has been your experience?

photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc

Part of a series: How to create a nonprofit communications plan

Part of a series: How to create a nonprofit communications plan