Let Your Wild Side Out: Getting Creative With Communications Strategy

By Bix  |  January 17, 2012  |  Nonprofit Communications,Social Media

2012.  Election year. End of an era in the Mayan calendar.
 And possibly your nonprofit’s toughest fundraising year, according to two new studies.

Now is when your communications need to get creative – not only in content, but in strategy. Creative communications strategies can help you maximize dollars, expand your reach, and even inspire greater giving.

Here’s how.

  • Create Creatively: Do you need another 40-page annual report or other printed publications? Now, if your core work is research, then your printed reports are likely a must-have. But some organizations are turning to video to create personal, inspiring and visual annual reports says Socialbrite, or using online slideshows instead of written publications like Human Rights Watch did in 2010. Good-quality video does require skill (as in a trained professional), but they can be much less expensive to create and share online than printing and mailing paper annual reports. Plus, your ‘visual report’ has a much better chance of being watched than a written tome has of being read.
  • Use The News: The great thing about an election year is that an issue you care about is probably going to be raised by a candidate. They may not say what you want them to, but the media will cover it. Use these news hooks to get your message out. It requires:
    • Being Alert: Monitor the news with the handy feature called, ahem, Google Alerts.
    • Being Nimble: Your commentary, no matter how brilliant, will be lost unless it’s timely – within 48 hours of the issue being in the news.
    • Again, Being Creative: If you can’t get on the nightly news, it’s okay. Send your supporters a quick email with your opinion. But try a method that positions you as an expert like a vlog (video blog) or an interview-style podcast.

    Using news hooks demonstrates your relevancy and keeps you in your supporters’ minds the next time anyone –presidential candidate or not – talks about your issue.

  • Get Social: We won’t say it again. Okay, we’ll probably say it a lot. It’s not enough to have a social media presence. You need a strategy to reach and engage with the people who are already talking about homelessness, or immigration, or animals, or… you get the picture. Join the conversation – strategically.
  • Get it Together: Plan, plan, plan. This may not sound logical, but planning your communications for the year gives you greater freedom to be creative. Planning helps you prioritize your focus areas and budget your time and resources accordingly. But best of all, once you’ve got a plan, you have the mental space and energy to be truly creative. Even zany.

It’s 2012. Let your wild side out.

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