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Tips for Successful Nonprofit Communications Strategies


Title: Communication Strategies that Work Author: Jennifer Hefti Last modified by: Deb Wiley Created Date: 3/12/2010 4:23:09 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Tips for Successful Nonprofit Communications Strategies

Tips for Successful Nonprofit Communications
  • Getting the Word Out!
  • Jennifer Hefti, Director of Communications
    Community Outreach
  • Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
  • Phone 801-832-3272
  • E-mail

Learning Objectives
  • Strategic Communications Plan
  • Branding and Planning
  • Communications Research
  • Audience and Segmentation
  • Communications Toolkit
  • Media Relations
  • Social Media
  • Measurable Outcomes
  • Your Personal Brand

Strategic Communications Plan
  • Mission
  • Your organizations mission is the starting point
    for developing your strategic communications

To promote global understanding and respect between the people of Utah and other nations.
Strategic Communications Plan
  • Assess your Communications Infrastructure
  • What is your communications budget? How much
    staff time are you willing to devote to
  • If you cannot afford a staff person, does anyone
    on your board have communications, marketing or
    media relations expertise?
  • Who will do the workare they comfortable with
    and knowledgeable about marketing/communications?
  • What has your organization been publishing in
    print and online over the past two years?
  • How powerful and consistent is your brand?

Strategic Communications Plan
  • 1-Page Street Smart Communications Plan
  • Time Frame
  • 90-day plan
  • Tools
  • List all the tools in your marketing toolkit
  • Priorities
  • Identify 3 priorities in the next 90 days
  • Action Steps
  • Goal
  • Key Message
  • Toolkit
  • Review
  • Future Priorities

Branding and Planning
  • Definitions
  • Behavioral Branding
  • Branding is how your organization behaves.
  • Alignment Communications
  • Confronts your branding problems, not just on a
    strategic level, but every day, with every email
    you send and every brochure or newsletter you
  • Alignment Gaps
  • Identify and state your problem
  • State your audience
  • State your message
  • Choose your communication tool
  • Get it done

Branding and Planning
  • Establish your Communications Goals
  • To manage the organization, programs, and
    services effectively
  • To raise awareness inspire engagement
  • To sustain and increase support
  • To raise funds
  • To tell your story, to touch hearts and minds

Branding and Planning
  • SMART Communication Goals
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable agreed-upon
  • Realistic
  • Time-specific

Branding and Planning
  • Easy steps you can take today
  • Make a good e-connection
  • Interruption vs. interaction
  • Phone first then e-mail
  • The wonder of spellchecking
  • Your tone
  • Your signature block (email)
  • Thank you
  • Your voicemail message
  • Speakerphone

Communications Research
  • Communications Research is vital to support your
    branding, fundraising, and organizations

Communications Research
  • Primary Research
  • Primary Research is research you conduct and
    create yourself.
  • Online Surveys
  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Anonymous
  • Most often free
  • Provide immediate feedback
  • Offer a wealth of information that can be useful
    in reports

Communications Research
  • Primary Research
  • Focus Groups
  • Focus Groups are meetings, a means to gather
    verbal information from your stakeholders.
  • Help you do a better job.
  • Help assess client satisfaction with your
    programs and services.
  • Help you launch a new program or service.
  • Help you understand peoples preferences for
    receiving information online vs. in the mail (for

Communications Research
  • Secondary Research
  • Secondary Research is research that others have
    already published (free publically available
  • Internet Search Engines (e.g. Google)
  • Public or University Libraries
  • Blogs
  • Online Bookmarking Service (e.g. Delicious)
  • Professional Nonprofit Associations
  • Utah Nonprofits Association (www.utahnonprofits.or
  • Society for Nonprofit Organizations
  • National Council of Nonprofits (www.councilofnonpr

Audience and Segmentation
  • Three Imaginary Friends
  • There is no General Public
  • Reach out to a specific subset of the general
  • Start with three imaginary friends of your
  • People who have had an international experience
    (e.g. travel, business, trade, etc.)
  • People who speak a foreign language
  • People who have studied International Relations
  • Develop your communications strategy for these
    three people (80-20 rule).

Communications Toolkit
  • Whats your core toolkit?
  • Direct mailing letters, postcards
  • E-newsletters
  • Annual Report
  • Website
  • E-mails
  • Brochures
  • Displays at events
  • Posters, fliers, tablecloth, table tents
  • PowerPoint presentations to local groups
  • Partnerships with other agencies or businesses
  • Online social networks
  • list your tool

Communications Toolkit
  • E-Newsletter
  • Benefits
  • Third-party e-mail marketing services (e.g. provides you with
    user-friendly templates
  • Gives you immediate feedback on how many people
    open your e-newsletter and how many people click
  • Average opening rate 15 - 27
  • Trend
  • According to the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study
    (2009), more people are using alternative forms
    of communication (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
    to get their information

Communications Toolkit
  • E-Newsletter
  • How to get people to open and read your
  • From
  • General Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
  • Specific Laura Dupuy, Executive Director
  • Subject line
  • Descriptive Rebuilding Diplomatic Capacity
    A Lecture by Ambassador Lyman, March 17, 3pm
  • Proactive You are invited to Support
  • Include a link to click if the e-newsletter is
    not viewable
  • Use graphics, but in moderation
  • Use corporate colors to reinforce branding
  • Focus intensely on the top part of your
  • Timing (1000 a.m./mid-week)

Communications Toolkit
  • E-Newsletter

Media Relations
  • What is the media?
  • Nonprofit organizations are newsmakers. You are
    your own media. Build your own media outlet.
  • Traditional Media Outlets
  • Newspapers, radio, and TV
  • Online Media Outlets
  • Online newspapers, forums, blogs
  • Grassroots Media Outlets
  • Inserts, fliers, school papers

Media Relations
  • Build media RELATIONS
  • Letters, e-mails, and phone calls
  • Visit the newsroom
  • Send editors, reports, and journalists a press
  • Hold a brown-bag lunch once a year
  • Keep regular contact

Media Relations
  • Perspective
  • If you cannot influence the media DIRECTLY, who
    do you need by your side to get the word out?
  • Your Board Members or Board of Directors/Trustees
  • Your Members
  • Your Volunteers
  • Your Donors and Sponsors
  • Organizations that have similar interests
  • Its important to remember that the news media
    can only cover your organization periodically.

Media Relations
  • Create a Media Database
  • Read, listen, watch!
  • Make a list of your local media outlets
  • Print and online newspapers (e.g. Salt Lake
  • Blogs (
  • Radio (e.g. KCPW Utah NPR Affiliate)
  • TV (e.g. KUED Channel 7 PBS Affiliate)
  • Create a media contacts database
  • Name
  • Title
  • Department/Beat
  • Contact Information

Media Relations
  • Frame your Story Craft your Message
  • Describe the story in a way that resonates with
    your mission, the values and needs of your
    audience(s), and is also interesting to
    journalists, or newsworthy.
  • Contact information
  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • WHY?
  • About your organization

Media Relations
  • Distribute Your Message
  • Call reporters and alert them to your news
  • Pitch via e-mail and then follow-up by phone
  • Include support materials (e.g. logo, relevant
    pictures with proper credits, etc.)
  • Tip Upload your images to an online service,
    like, and then include the link in
    your press release.
  • Submit stories/events to
  • Online community calendars
  • Public Service Announcement (PSA)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Send in the mail or fax

Media Relations
  • Plan Pitch
  • Spray and Pray
  • You blast out a press release and hope for the
    best (e.g. calendar listings)
  • Pitch calls
  • You want to interest the reporter in a specific
    story. Get the right person for the story you are
  • Exclusive or advanced pitches
  • You call a media outlet to offer them something
    no one else will get.

Media Relations
  • Deliver Your Message
  • Op-ed Articles
  • The opinion page, opposite the editorial page in
    most newspapers, is commonly overlooked as PR
    tool. This space has the potential to provide
    your nonprofit organization with four to six
    publicity articles each year (under 700 words).

Media Relations
  • Deliver Your Message
  • Online News Rooms
  • To develop good relations with the media, you
    want to make information easy for them to access.
    One way to do this is through an online news
    room. On your website, include a link for Media
    or News Room.
  • Archived Press Releases
  • Photos
  • Organizational background information
  • Organizational facts
  • Story Starters
  • Published Stories

Media Relations
  • Deliver Your Message
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
  • A nonprofit TV or radio Public Service
    Announcement is free to your organization and can
    be customized with your logo.
  • Online Community Calendars
  • Community Boards
  • Libraries
  • Coffee Shops
  • Retail shops and businesses

Media Relations
  • Press Release
  • Photo first, then headline, then story
  • A picture is worth a thousand words.
  • What picture would tell this story?
  • Your headline positions the story in the
    reporters mind as either important or not.
  • Focus on content.

Media Relations
  • Press Release
  • Put the RIGHT face on your story
  • Show you are at the center of a solution
  • Consumers respond much more favorably to stories
    that portray a solution-oriented difference
    maker than stories about someones suffering.
  • Tip Choose stories of individual people changing
    for the better as a result of your organizations

Media Relations
  • Press Release
  • Frequency
  • How often should you contact reporters?
  • As often as you have a legitimate reason to do
  • Proximity
  • The Trend is Your Friend.
  • Watch your local, regional, and national news,
    and let reporters know how your organization is
    addressing the issue in your community.

Social Media
  • Social Media Marketing Plan
  • Social Media Marketing Plan
  • Choose your social media priorities
  • Google
  • Blog
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Wikipedia
  • Determine your policies
  • Prioritize the tools you choose and master them

Social Media
  • Your Website
  • Your website should focus more on visitors than
    on your organization.
  • What three questions would visitors want
    answered when visiting your site?
  • What three actions do people want to take by
    visiting your site?
  • Your website is only useful if people can find
  • Use the right key words
  • How many other sites link to you?
  • Track your web traffic

Measurable Outcomes
  • Track and Evaluate
  • Website
  • Virtual host statistics Usage statistics
  • Insert real-time stats on your website (e.g.
    Google Analytics, http//, etc.)
  • E-mail Open Rate
  • Request a read receipt
  • E-mail marketing reports (e.g. Constant Contact)
  • Google Alerts
  • Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
  • UCCD
  • Citizen Diplomacy
  • Online News Room
  • Archive media exposure

Your Personal Brand
  • Grow Your Credibility
  • Be the model every day of what your nonprofit
    stands for, both on paper and in person.
  • - Steve Cebalt, Nonprofit Consultant
  • YOU can affect the way your organization is
  • YOU can affect the message.
  • Think about your personality and voice your
    personal brand.
  • Always say Thank You

Your Personal Brand
  • Keep Learning
  • Constant Contact Learning Center
  • Marketing Profs
  • Jacob Nielsen
  • Public Relations Society of America
  • Greater Salt Lake Chapter -
  • Nonprofit Marketing Guide
  • (Kivis Blog)
  • Nonprofit PR Forum

Get the Word Out!
  • Effective Communication Starts With You
  • Effective communication is 20 what you know and
    80 how you feel about what you know.
  • Jim Rohn,
  • American author motivational speaker

Get the Word Out!
  • Bibliography
  • Steve Cebalt. The Communications Handbook for
    Nonprofits and Foundations, 2010.
  • Kivi Leroux Miller. The First 100 Days in Your
    New Nonprofit Marketing Job, 2010.
  • 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, 2009. MR
    Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology
  • 2010 Nonprofit Social Media Benchmarks Study,
    2010. MR Strategic Services and the Nonprofit
    Technology Network.

Tips for Successful Nonprofit Communications
  • Getting the Word Out!
  • Jennifer Hefti, Director of Communications
    Community Outreach
  • Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
  • Phone 801-832-3272
  • E-mail