I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution setter, but I do love a fresh page on the calendar and a year of open space and possibilities spread before me. If your organization’s communications strategy didn’t hit all the marks in 2023, here are a few resolutions you may want to set this year.
1. Prior proper planning prevents poor performance
Be sure you are setting yourself up for success by writing a comms plan that drives back to organizational goals. What does your nonprofit organization want to achieve? How are you working toward that mission? What do others need to know to join your cause? What obstacles do they face or what objections do they have to supporting your work?
Asking these questions upfront and designing a plan that supports the larger organizational mission will ensure you aren’t chasing shiny but silly tactics all year long.
2. Master your messaging
With a solid plan, you can build out your messaging, which should easily tell the story of the different facets of your non-profit’s mission. We always advise clients to think of the different approaches they take to advance their mission (research, programming, advocacy, etc) and build a messaging cluster for each. Start with a simple statement that outlines the problem you solve, followed by a story that illustrates your organization in action, and ending with the action you want your intended audience to take. By building a common thread between the information, story, and action, we can help people understand even the stickiest and densest of subjects.
3. Who, what, when, why, how
Plan your media pitches in advance, but leave room for unexpected opportunities. We suggest making a short list of the types of stories that would trigger your team to reach out to a reporter with an opportunity to go deeper on a topic or share another side of the issue.
4. Mark up that calendar
I know I just espoused the joy of a fresh calendar, but when planning campaigns, launches, and releases, be sure you are thoughtful about where they fall on the calendar. Avoid media pitching in the days before major holidays or popular out-of-office times.
5. Prep your peeps Start your year by listing your organization’s spokespeople, expertise, and preferred topics for media interviews, contact information, headshots, bios, and social media information. Offer media training for these folks so they understand the best tactics for relaying credibility and driving action in interviews. Before every interview, take time to ensure these spokespeople understand your key messaging as well as phrases your organization doesn’t use.
What would you add to this New Year’s resolutions list for non-profit PR teams?