Getting the Word Out!. Tips for Successful Nonprofit Communications Strategies. Jennifer Hefti, Director of Communications & Community Outreach Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy Phone: 801-832-3272 E-mail: [email protected] Learning Objectives. Strategic Communications Plan
Strategic Communications Plan
Branding and Planning
Audience and Segmentation
Your Personal Brand
Your organization’s mission is the starting point for developing your strategic communications plan.
What is your communications budget? How much staff time are you willing to devote to communications?
If you cannot afford a staff person, does anyone on your board have communications, marketing or media relations expertise?
Who will do the work—are 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?
Assess your Communications Infrastructure
List all the tools in your marketing toolkit
Identify 3 priorities in the next 90 days
1-Page “Street Smart” Communications Plan
Branding is how your organization behaves.
Confronts your branding problems, not just on a strategic level, but every day, with every email you send and every brochure or newsletter you publish.
Identify and state your problem
State your audience
State your message
Choose your communication tool
Get it done
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
Establish your Communications Goals
Attainable & agreed-upon
SMART Communication Goals
Make a good e-connection
Interruption vs. interaction
Phone first… then e-mail
The wonder of spellchecking
Your signature block (email)
Your voicemail message
Easy steps you can take today
Communications Research is vital to support your branding, fundraising, and organization’s awareness.
Primary Research is research you conduct and create yourself.
Quick and easy to assemble
Most often free
Provide immediate feedback
Offer a wealth of information that can be useful in reports
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 people’s preferences for receiving information online vs. in the mail (for example)
Secondary Research is research that others have already published (free publically available research).
Internet Search Engines (e.g. Google)
Public or University Libraries
Online Bookmarking Service (e.g. Delicious)
Professional Nonprofit Associations
Utah Nonprofits Association (www.utahnonprofits.org)
Society for Nonprofit Organizations (www.snpo.org)
National Council of Nonprofits (www.councilofnonprofits.org)
There is no “General Public”
Reach out to a specific subset of the “general public”
Start with three imaginary friends of your organization:
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).
Three Imaginary Friends
Direct mailing: letters, postcards
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]
What’s your core toolkit?
Third-party e-mail marketing services (e.g. www.constantcontact.com) provides you with user-friendly templates
Gives you immediate feedback on how many people open your e-newsletter and how many people click through
Average opening rate: 15% - 27%
According to the eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (2009), more people are using alternative forms of communication (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to get their information
How to get people to open and read your e-newsletter
General – Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
Specific – Laura Dupuy, Executive Director
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 e-newsletter
Timing (10:00 a.m./mid-week)
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
What is the media?
Letters, e-mails, and phone calls
Visit the newsroom
Send editors, reports, and journalists a press kit
Hold a “brown-bag lunch” once a year
Keep regular contact
Build media RELATIONS
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 Donors and Sponsors
Organizations that have similar interests – PARTNER
It’s important to remember that the news media can only cover your organization periodically.
Read, listen, watch!
Make a list of your local media outlets
Print and online newspapers (e.g. Salt Lake Tribune)
Radio (e.g. KCPW – Utah NPR Affiliate)
TV (e.g. KUED – Channel 7 – PBS Affiliate)
Create a media contacts database
Create a Media Database
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.”
About your organization
Frame your Story & Craft 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 Flickr.com, and then include the link in your press release.
Submit stories/events to:
Online community calendars
Public Service Announcement (PSA)
Send in the mail or fax
Distribute Your Message
“Spray and Pray”
You blast out a press release and hope for the best (e.g. calendar listings)
You want to interest the reporter in a specific story. Get the right person for the story you are pitching.
Exclusive or advanced pitches
You call a media outlet to offer them something no one else will get.
Plan & Pitch
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).
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
Organizational background information
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
Retail shops and businesses
Deliver Your Message
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.
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 someone’s suffering.
Tip: Choose stories of individual people changing for the better as a result of your organization’s efforts.
How often should you contact reporters?
As often as you have a legitimate reason to do so.
“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 Marketing Plan
Choose your social media priorities
Determine your policies
Prioritize the tools you choose and master them
Social Media Marketing Plan
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 it.
Use the right key words
How many other sites link to you?
Track your web traffic
Virtual host statistics – Usage statistics
Insert real-time stats on your website (e.g. Google Analytics, http://whos.amung.us, etc.)
E-mail: Open Rate
Request a read receipt
E-mail marketing reports (e.g. Constant Contact)
“Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy”
Online News Room
Archive media exposure
Track and Evaluate
“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 perceived.
YOU can affect the message.
Think about your personality and voice – your personal brand.
Always say “Thank You”
Grow Your Credibility
Constant Contact Learning Center
Public Relations Society of America
Greater Salt Lake Chapter - www.slcprsa.org
Nonprofit Marketing Guide
www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com (Kivi’s Blog)
Nonprofit PR Forum
“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.”
American author & motivational speaker
Effective Communication Starts With You
Steve Cebalt. The Communications Handbook for Nonprofits and Foundations, 2010.www.CommunicationsHandbook.com.
Kivi Leroux Miller. The First 100 Days in Your New Nonprofit Marketing Job, 2010. www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com
2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, 2009. M+R Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology Network. www.e-benchmarksstudy.com
2010 Nonprofit Social Media Benchmarks Study, 2010. M+R Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology Network. www.e-benchmarksstudy.com/socialmedia