ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Friday, December 29, 2017 - 11:28am


posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Strategy Consultant

A nonprofit organization communication team must be skilled communicators to achieve the broader goals and objectives of the nonprofit organization. Communication teams at nonprofits convey information to the public sector, private sector, the media, communities, organization’s staff, and other responders.

The primary goal of nonprofit communication teams is to raise awareness of the work of the nonprofit organization so that you can secure volunteers and funding to continue your mission. 

Your communication teams serve to empower communities, governments, donors, and the public at large with information regarding the impact and influence of the organization’s work. This is necessary to ensure government authorization, active community engagement, and positive feedback form the media and society.

Communication teams at nonprofits are responsible for developing proposals and requests for funding for donors. This process occurs in collaboration with the management team to present a clear and concise plan of an organization's achievements and plans. Nonprofits rely on donor funding for their operations. Donors require concise plans and objectives for funding projects.

1. Brand Management

Communication teams build brand awareness through tailored advertising, social media engagement, and local groups on the ground. Brand awareness is key to raising awareness of goals and work that nonprofit organization does in local communities. There are several free marketing tools for small business that your nonprofit can use to manage your brand without having to break the bank. 

Brand management can enhance community engagement, and improve donor-funding requests by a nonprofit organization. Local communities and society also tend to be brand aware. People engage more in attractive brands as compared to unattractive brands.

2. Conflict Resolution

Nonprofit organizations may find themselves at odds with local communitiesdue to different cultures and beliefs. Respective communication teams undertake the obligation of understanding local community’s wishes and preferences and aligning them with the goals of the nonprofit organization. While this situation is not common, nonprofits need to be aware of cultural or other norms when developing a communication strategy. 

Additionally, communication teams may need to hold meetings with local communities before undertaking their goals physically. Ensuring that your nonprofit organization is aligned with the needs of your community means that you will be able to build relationships and secure more funding in the long run while also accomplishing your mission. 

3. Recruitment and Talent Management

Nonprofits do require specific talents to undertake challenging work in areas such as health, diplomacy, and technology. If you want to have a strong, nonprofit that is a success then you need volunteers who are willing to share their time and knowledge about their area of expertise. 

Communication teams tailor attractive propositions to interested candidates to reduce competition for talent with other groups such as private sector, public sector, and other nonprofit organizations. 

Communication teams also serve to retain existing talent through encouraging openness; organization extended trips, conferences, and many others. One way to accomplish this is to build a strong online presence with a website to engage donors and volunteers. 

4. Effective Internal Communication

To harness volunteer engagement, talents and improved productivity, effective internal communication is paramount. Communication teams build internal communication channels that are engaging, effective and open. One of the biggest obstacles facing nonprofit organizations is retaining volunteers and preventing burnout. 

A strong communication team can help build a strong volunteer base while also improving morale for all volunteers in your organization. This improves workflow and reports in an organization. Therefore, a nonprofit can focus more on the community they are serving as opposed to solving internal bottlenecks and challenges.

5. Donor Management

Communication teams tend to be the first line of communication with consumers that need assistance or help. Therefore, communication teams are essential in assisting the donor to overcome challenges that he or she faces with products or services related to a nonprofit. 

Proper donor management leads to positive feedback from donors and therefore, likely to recommend the product or service to other potential donors in a particular location. A strong communication team can have a substantial impact to attract more donors and improve your financial standing across your organization. 

6. Problem Solving

In addition to donor management, communication teams may be required to troubleshoot or assist the donor solve his query. Therefore, communication teams require a great understanding of the inner workings of the product and should be ready to offer an acceptable solution. This leads to positive feedback and more referrals from donors.

Since your communication team is the front-facing team that builds the online presence of your organization, team members must be able to think through problems your organization is facing and build a strategy around your goals. 

7. Nonprofit Reputation Management

A good name is a key to ensuring donor funding and positive community engagement. Managing reputation involves building a good name based on objectives and successes of an organization. Status is also key to weathering crises and improving overall perception.

A lot of time and energy goes into creating a position online reputation for your nonprofit, but this is essential to keep volunteers and donors interested in your cause. You should look at various channels like your website, social media, and other outreach methods to ensure your nonprofit maintains a position online reputation. 

8. Government Relations & Legislation

For nonprofits working in strict environments such as the health sector, maintaining positive ties with legislative agencies is essential for future authorizations to operate within certain jurisdictions. 

Communication teams also track bills, laws and other rules to ensure that the nonprofit organization works within the law. Communication teams also lobby for favorable operating conditions from the government.

The success of any communication team is dependent on how it is linked to a nonprofit organization’s strategy. Communication teams must be ready and willing to engage in different subsets of the nonprofit to promote and ensure the survival of the nonprofit.

As your nonprofit continues to grow, you should focus on the above eight goals for your communication teams. Your communication team must consisted of dedicated and knowledgeable experts who focus on ways to improve your nonprofits standing in your community. A strong online presence will not only help you attract more donors, but you will also see a growth of donors for long-term success of your mission!

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant in Orlando, FL where he helps national brands and nonprofits reach their goals. He focuses on helping organizations drive qualified traffic and build a strong online brand through Internet marketing and conversion optimization.

Want to learn more?

The Nonprofit Marketing and Strategic Commincations Certificate at the ASU Lodestar Center offers knowledge on how to better manage your organization's marketing, public relations, and social media strategy needs. Course content is organized to familiarize you with the most relevant topics needed to lead and manage marketing and communication strategies for nonprofit organizations.

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