Conquering Your Communication Challenges – Planning, Strategy, and Measurement

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write about how to conquer some of your communication challenges.  Do these sound familiar to you?

We don’t have a plan or strategy
This is where you need to begin.  You need to have fundraising and marketing plans.  Not having a plan is like starting a journey without a map (or these days programming your GPS).  You need to know where you are headed and how you will get there.

Not only do you need to have overall plans, but each campaign or communication tool (website, newsletter, etc.) needs a strategy. Make it as detailed as possible.  Figure out each step of your annual appeal or event.  Create a timeline.

Set goals. These include the obvious such as how much money you need to raise and how many volunteers you want to recruit, as well as what you want your newsletter to achieve.  In this case it could be to engage, educate, entertain, or a combination of the three.

Here is some more detailed information about putting together a campaign. Campaign, champagne – what’s that thing called again?

Creating plans and strategies will take some time upfront, but it will save you time in the end. And it is time well spent.

We know we should be measuring our progress, but it’s so overwhelming
It’s not as overwhelming as you might think.  Now that you have plans and strategies, use those as your basis to figure out what you need to measure.   I wrote an entire post about measuring your progress a few weeks ago, so I won’t go into a huge amount of detail.

For your annual plans, measure your progress at least once a quarter.  For engagement (newsletter, social media, website), try to look at analytics once a month.  In addition, use a more personal approach and ask questions through social media and conduct short surveys in your newsletter and website.  You can also do a longer, but not too long, survey once or twice a year.

Once you have completed a campaign or event, figure out what worked and what didn’t.  Then make changes for the future. 

If you don’t measure your progress, how will you know if you are successful?   Perhaps you’ve had an annual event for years that’s really more trouble than it’s worth.  Or, you are trying to engage with your donors on Twitter, and not many of them use it. 

Don’t get too discouraged if you encounter a setback. Think of it as a learning experience.

You don’t need to be a data geek to do measurement. You can do a lot of it on a spreadsheet.  Here are a few examples you might find helpful.

Creating plans and strategies and coming up with a system for measurement is your first step towards conquering your communication challenges.  In my next post, I’ll write about dealing with limited resources – time, budget, and staff.

What are some of your communication challenges?

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