Steer Communications with a Map

Lori Woehrle
Advancement & Campaigns

Like a good map on a new-to-you road trip, a communications plan keeps you efficient, effective, and moving in the right direction. Create one and you won’t get lost, despite any unexpected detours that pop up.

Nonprofit communications pros are a busy bunch. You have events to promote, posts to write, special days to be recognized, speeches to prepare, and there is always a fire, somewhere, that must be put out immediately. You have a lot on your plate.

So it’s imperative to have that tool — a communications plan — to keep you moving forward and on track as your world starts to veer. Here’s how it will help:

Efficiency — Measure twice, cut once. Once you’ve determined your communications goal(s) for the year (think fundraising, admissions, community engagement, brand messaging, etc.) and you’ve built those goals into your plan, just execute. You can move quickly through the process of deploying that email, or posting on Insta, because you don’t have to re-think who you’re trying to reach and why. You don’t have to worry about reaching out to donors, say, or parents, too often, because you already worked out an appropriate cadence.

​​​​​​​Effectiveness — Creating a communications plan will force you to consider all your audiences and all your messaging. Because none of your communications are without-context “one-offs,” nothing will be overlooked. Your hard work will pay off.

Direction — We all know that winds shift throughout the year. Unfortunately, no plan comes with a crystal ball that anticipates the unexpected. Life happens. And so do unforeseen assignments, changes, new additions, and events (think Covid). However, a communications plan can keep you heading in the right direction despite detours. Like a good map, it can keep you from drifting down a byway when it’s time to return to the highway.