Tech-Savvy Communications: A toolkit for nonprofits

The following Tech-Savvy Communications Toolkit is by NPower Seattle.

One of the consistent observations from NPower Seattle’s work helping non- profits use technology to better serve their communities is that many nonprofit organizations are doing amazing work, yet they struggle to tell their story in an effective way. The Tech-Savvy Communications toolkit is our response to the need we saw for a resource to fill in the missing pieces by 1) providing an overview of effective communications for nonprofits, and 2) emphasizing technology as a tool in effective communications.

The process described here for developing tech-savvy communications begins with laying some important groundwork, progresses from there to three steps of

  1. identifying your audience,
  2. creating effective key messages, and
  3.  evaluating communication tactics,
  4. and finishes with taking action by crafting your communications objectives and checking yourself against best practices.

Along the way we place special emphasis on taking the time to identify your audience(s). That’s because clarity about the audience and its perceptions, objections, and experience is the foundation for both developing clear messages that speak to your audience’s interests, and for identifying appropriate tactics to deliver the message.

The Tech-Savvy Communications toolkit is a practical, interactive guide that offers you opportunities to apply the information and suggestions you find here, and points you to resources to learn more. The “tools” included in this kit include:

  • “It’s Your Turn” exercises, providing a push to apply what you’ve learned
  • The Message Framework, a quick reference guide for your leadership and staff as well as any marketing/PR consultants that you bring in to assist you
  • The Channels and Tactics spreadsheet on the Resource CD, a “live” version of the Communications Channels charts printed in the workbook
  • The Resource List, offering links to articles and websites to learn more about Tech-Savvy Communications for your organization.
  • The Summary of Funder Feedback, offering frank advice and commen- tary from our survey of institutional funders and individual donors on effective messaging in requests for technology funding.

Tech-Savvy Communications is an emerging expertise for most nonprofits, and new technology options arrive on the scene at a dizzying pace. We leaned on a number of experts in the field of communications and our colleagues in the nonprofit sector to pull together the methodology and tips presented in this toolkit. We look forward your comments and feedback as the conversation continues.

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