So you’ve decided your nonprofit organization needs to improve its communications. You go online looking for advice. What do you find? Most of what’s written about communications (outside of this blog!) is aimed at for-profit businesses. And there’s a lot of it. How do you sort through the advice available to find what you can use right away?
Here’s the secret: start with the experts who speak your language.
You’ll find there are three kinds of articles about marketing and communications:
- Some are written for businesses but could equally well apply to nonprofits, with just a little translation.
- Some articles assume that you’re in business to make money and that all your decisions (including what you do and whom you serve) will change as the market changes. Reading these articles is like looking at yourself in a distorting mirror. It will take time and effort to make a picture you can recognize, let alone gain advice you can use.
- Some articles are entirely concerned with for-profit business problems and solutions.
Discard the #3’s. File the #2’s for later. Start with the #1’s.
What does it sound like when a communications pro speaks your language? For example, take a look at Ken Mueller’s article “The Importance of Telling and Retelling Your Story.” It makes its point in straightforward English, without a lot of jargon: you need to make sure the image people have of your organization is the image you’d like them to have.
This is why it’s important for a business to tell its story online. And to keep telling it. Not only does it tell people who you are, but it also corrects misinformation and tells them who you aren’t. In fact, every blog post, every status update, every photo, and so on, is a part of telling your story.
Just insert “nonprofit” for “business,” and you’ll hear advice that applies to you. Look for more advice like that. It will save you time and grief.
Laura Click (@lauraclick) says
Great points, Dennis. I used to be the marketing and special events director at a non-profit, so much of what I write could go both ways. But you’re right, not every marketing blog does. I loved Ken’s post. And, thanks for linking to mine too!