Communications Basics 

Two women stand, backs together with arms crossed, smiling at camera. One is wearing glasses and a denim dress; the other is wearing a pink top. People are behind them.
I3 Consultant Kecia Carroll & Gulf Coast team member Rachel Denton

In the fast-paced world of communications and marketing, it’s important to establish a strong foundation and implement strategies to best support your nonprofit organization.  

Strengthening your organization’s communications is key for long-term success. Start with a communications plan, or a holistic approach to strategizing, documenting, and implementing communication and outreach practices. Steps to creating this include determining key communications goals; identifying key audiences; developing a positioning statement and key messages; creating an outreach plan/selecting communications channels; implementing the plan including specifying a timeline for moving forward, and assessing results and making adjustments. Fleshing out these elements in advance is imperative when executing smart, strategic communications. Make sure your messaging is understandable, relatable, and easy to share. 

It’s important to understand how to build on your organization’s mission, vision, values, and key messages. A communications plan ensures consistent messaging across all channels, improves collaboration and coordination among team members and partners, and increases engagement, showing you concrete action on what you want your target audiences to do.  

Once you’ve built your communications plan, it’s time to start developing your brand voice and personality. What tone best represents your organization? Are you filled with gratitude for your donors, sending a more serious message, or upbeat and celebrating your impact? You can define and stay consistent with your brand voice in all that you execute, from commenting on social media posts to crafting blog posts and eblasts.  

Your brand is everything your organization encompasses and reflects how the public and audiences view you. It is a powerful tool to leverage organizational news and accomplishments and communicate meaningfully with your audiences. Through strategic, creative social media planning, purposeful, newsworthy press releases, and authentic, catalytic storytelling (through blogs or articles), you can inspire action and engagement with your brand every day. Consider using these channels to reach your target audiences.  

Tips for Social Media: 

Know your audience before selecting your social media platforms
Develop a social media calendar and post consistently
Provide a call to action in your posts
Incorporate engagement on social media and be authentic
Track insights 

Tips for Press Releases: 

Share newsworthy content
Include Who, What, When, Where, Why, How 
Add high quality visuals 
Build relationships with the media
Maintain a comprehensive media list
Know what beats journalist’s cover 

Tips for Storytelling: 

Know your target audience
Weave in your mission, vision, values, priorities
Inspire action with your story
Use a human element like a hero or catalyst to bring the story to life
Promote the story on your communications platforms 

Communications Basics – Balancing Sound Strategy with Smart Execution is a capacity building workshop by Invest In Incredible (I3). Check out our events page to learn when the next workshop is happening! 


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