Group brainstorming a nonprofit communications strategy

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

For the last 11 months, I’ve shared a series of posts on how to create a nonprofit communications strategy. They’ve been very popular.

More than one way to create a nonprofit communications strategy

The process I share in my series is my preferred one but I recognize that it’s not the only way to strategically plan your nonprofit’s communications.

Not long ago, I helped a nonprofit client develop its communications strategy using a much quicker process. Yet, it still resulted in a good, comprehensive result. You might consider it for your nonprofit or charity

Brainstorm your nonprofit communications strategy as a group

What we did was to group brainstorm a communications strategy for the charity. We took a morning and using a white board, we tackled each step of the process and recorded it. It helped that I had recently updated the organization’s brochure so we had already determined many of the key messages. (Ideally, the brochure would follow the strategy but we rarely find ourselves in a perfect world).

We chose this approach because it seemed the best fit for a small organization that has three full-time staff members and contracts with me part-time to assist with communications. It proved to be an efficient use of time for the two staff whose jobs included communications responsibilities.

I normally I prefer the candid nature of one-on-one meetings during the research phase. I find that people feel more comfortable sharing what they might be more reserved about with supervisors and peers listening in. It also ensures that everybody I want to hear from contributes. I prefer these conversations also be in a more relaxed setting outside of the head-space and interruptions found at work. In creating another charity’s communications strategy recently, that approach paid off.

Yet I found that the group brainstorming also proved effective. The small number of people we identified to be involved was one factor and a second consideration was that one of the full-time staff was new to the organization.

What helped make the group brainstorming effective was capturing the entire process using a white board. We were all able to see the strategy take shape and refer to what we had already brainstormed.

After the group completed our brainstorming, I then used the white board to write up a communications strategy document that can be referred to as the organization executes its strategy. Doing so also allowed me a chance to identify gaps and identify tools and tactics to recommend that hadn’t come up when together.

Be flexible and adapt to your circumstances

So don’t feel like you’re locked in to using a specific process when developing your communications strategy. Take into consideration the unique circumstances of your organization and adapt your process to fit them. The end result of knowing who you’re trying to reach and how your tools and tactics can help connect them with your key messages to achieve your goals and objectives is more important than the process of how you determined your strategy.

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