Non-profit Communications Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide

No matter how big your team is or what you do, you need a strong communication plan for your nonprofit organization.

And if your nonprofit is like most, every dollar and minute is important. Even if your nonprofit doesn’t have much money, you can still make and use a communication strategy that helps you build your brand, get more people to support you, make more money, and grow.

What is a nonprofit communication strategy?

A communication strategy for a nonprofit is a custom plan for getting in touch with and talking to the people who are important to your organization. Your communication strategy helps you connect with donors, the media, volunteers, people who will benefit from your work, and more.

A communication strategy is more than just spreading information. It is designed to get people to take actions that help your nonprofit and the people you serve. A good nonprofit communication strategy should be able to be measured and changed as the organization grows. As you get bigger, your strategy should grow and change.

How to create a communication plan for a nonprofit

The following are the steps you need to take to build a communication plan for your nonprofit.

1. Set out goals

Some common goals for a nonprofit’s communication strategy are:

  • Set up your brand and your story
  • Get people to know about the organization and/or the cause
  • Engage with more people
  • Increase financial support

When you first start to set goals, they are likely to be broad, like the ones we listed above. But then you should narrow them down to clear, specific goals.

Include deadlines for each goal and a person in charge of keeping track of and achieving those goals.

2. Know your target audience

Once you define your communication strategy objectives, identify your target audience. If you know who you’re talking to, you can make a communication plan that works for them. The less effective your message is, the broader it is. People give money to causes that they care about. To get and keep donors, you must know who they are, what motivates them, and how to talk to them effectively.

3. Make and share your own identity

You must tell people who you are in a clear and concise way. Show your audience your vision, your mission, and your values. You need to have a concise idea of who your nonprofit is so you can tell people about it in a way that gets them interested and moves them to act.

4. Send out clear messages

The above three things directly affect what you say. It should be clear, simple, and easy to follow. Your nonprofit’s message comes down to the main idea you want to get across.

It’s a specific point you want people to remember, and it could be:

  • Your mission
  • Why we need financial help
  • A donor’s impact

5. Make content

Content is also a huge part of your nonprofit’s search engine optimization (SEO), which brings people to your site. Content can be shared, and you can use the same content for multiple channels, saving your team time and money.

Your content tells your audience about your nonprofit’s mission and successes on a regular basis. Strategic content creation keeps people interested and likes your organization, which brings in more support.

6. Utilize appropriate channels

Once you’ve made content, it’s time to spread it in a planned way. Find the channels that will allow you to reach your target audience most effectively.

Social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, offer a lot of ways to connect with people. Email marketing lets you connect directly and has a great return on investment. When deciding where to share your content, look at your channels and ask how they will help you reach your communication goals.

Find out what a successful content distribution strategy for your nonprofit looks like. And while you’re at it, know what it looks like to fail. 

7. Be consistent

Communication in nonprofits never ends. Your audience wants to know what you’re working on, what your new goals are, and what you’ve already accomplished. Your strategy must have plans for keeping people interested.

It takes time to build relationships with donors, volunteers, and ambassadors. You have to keep putting in time and effort if you want to see results. When you’re consistent with your engagement, messaging, distribution, and stories, people will be more likely to engage with your nonprofit and feel a connection to it.