Six Tips for Your Mid-Year Communications Check-up

Conduct a Self-audit of Your Communications

Nonprofit New York, formerly The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC), created the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program with self-assessment tools. Participating nonprofit organizations conduct audits that help them evaluate their performance along specific metrics. The effort inevitably helps raise the bar in eight key areas of operations.

It’s exciting to see Communications placed so prominently among the criteria, next to governance and financial management, among others. NPCC held a workshop on Pathways to Excellence to share best practices in Communications; the discussion concisely presented six valuable nuggets that apply to all organizations: large and small, nonprofit, for profit and government.

Take a moment now to review your communications.

  1. Choose. Between Media Relations, Social Media, Website, Newsletter, Video, Annual Report and Marketing Collateral, it is unlikely your organization can deliver on all these projects equally well. Pick the ones that will have the greatest ROI for your group – based on dollars and donors — and support them with sufficient internal resources.
  2. Schedule. Create a Calendar that incorporates deadlines for events, email distribution, postal mailings, annual report and newsletters. Pre-populate Social Media posts whenever possible using automated tools, like TweetDeck.
  3. Empower. Front-line employees observe incidents and anecdotes in the moment. Encourage them to suggest story ideas as topics. Capture their insights and energy.
  4. Re-purpose. Once you’ve drafted content, distribute it widely. A narrative profile of a client published early in the year can be updated six months later, perhaps with a new photo. A new project can be re-visited with recent results and feedback from participants.
  5. Bifurcate. Write newsletters and annual reports that target hearts with photos and harness facts with charts. Many donors will connect to the personal stories; other supporters want to see outcomes. All thrill to successes and progress in accomplishing the mission of your organization.
  6. Anticipate. Invariably, a crisis arises. Prepare for it by designating a single spokesperson. That person will assemble the facts, develop the context, indicate the steps being taken to address the situation, wait for reporters to call and be responsive to pointed questions, keeping within carefully set boundaries and perhaps on a 20-minute delayed basis that will permits additional strategizing.

This Month’s Tip

Match your Communications activities to your goals. Highlight select programs by consistently featuring stories about the participants or clients, services, staff, allied partners and results. To ensure consistency, coordinate with colleagues across the group for a steady flow of new content.


Is it time for you to conduct a self-assessment of your Communications activities? How will you Choose, Schedule, Empower, Re-purpose, Bifurcate and Anticipate for the balance of the year? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. We’ll review the past, present and future of your Communications.

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Thanks to the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, whose workshop inspired this newsletter.