An effective communication strategy must be inextricably linked to an organization’s stated mission, objectives and goals. The strategy needs to be supported by SMART objectives
In today’s information cluttered environment, its important to figure out how to make your organization’s communications stand above the crowd. Telling a story has never been as hard as it is today but utilizing the right approaches and planning ahead will ensure that your voice is heard above the pack.
So, to reiterate, a comprehensive communications plan must be rooted solidly within the vision, mission, goals and values of the institution. In other words, communication should be regarded as an extension of programmatic objectives. It must not exist as a separate entity.
The vision, mission, goals and values provide the framework within which the communications plan will be built. They define that which the communications must ultimately aspire towards.
Having said that, communication can make or break an organization. At the outset, its important to know where you want to go in order to determine the appropriate communication tactics and methodologies.
I propose four broad outlines:
Know where you are and where you want to go
- Determine the appropriate strategy
- Select tactics, budget and implement
- Measure the effectiveness of your efforts
The fact of the matter though is that communications must achieve results; it must be a tool that pushes forward an organization’s operational activities and agenda, rather than simply function as a means to convey information. In view of this, communications must therefore be integrated with operations.
In many non-profit institutions there is always a disconnect between operations and communications which usually reduces the latter to mere propaganda or pamphleteering. Most managers do not quite appreciate the role that communications has to play, and how it can be invaluable in highlighting progress on meeting pre-set goals and plans.
It is important to mention that web-based technologies now offer new, cheaper, quicker. and more effective ways to communicate with more people. The web has exponentially exposed the way people access and react to communication products.
It is important to think of communications in terms of an ongoing and iterative process, as opposed to thinking in terms products (e.g. a news letter, website, etc)
A communication strategy is not the glue between different communication products; it is a means of elaborating how we network, participate, and interact with the world.
Most importantly, a good communication strategy must reflect a two way dialogue where a practitioner listens (what does our audience want, and how best can we communicate); design and deliver audience-informed strategies, and gather feed to assess impact.