As I look back over the last year as a communications consultant to non-profits, it occurred to me that I spend a lot of time explaining why it can be so helpful (and wonderful!) to have a trained PR/Communications person on staff, or on contract. Here are a few points that will help you figure out if you’re getting all the help you can expect from your communications person.
- Concerned with the big picture. He or she will make sure you have identified your organization’s 2-3 key messages, that your messaging is clear and precise, and that it is included across all platforms (newsletters, website, Facebook page, etc.). He or she will reach out and listen to your stakeholders to make sure the messaging is being perceived as it’s intended.
- Full of research-based ideas. Your communication person should be prompting you to think differently, to remember your audience, to think of new ways to connect with donors, to make your website more relevant—all based on current research and emerging trends in the marketplace.
- Driving the process. Everybody can have good ideas, but you’ll want a communication person who will put your agreed-upon ideas into action. He or she should take the weight off your shoulders, not just create more things for you to do.
- Fully engaged. It’s tough to get a communications person to be “all in” for your organization if they are a volunteer or if you bring them in for a project here and there. You’ll get your best work from a professional you are committed to and have shown confidence in (i.e. taking their suggestions and letting them run with projects).
Here’s a great little list from PR Daily that hits quite a few of the points I like to make. The article is talking about hiring PR firms (a concept most smaller non-profits can’t envision), but it’s good food for thought on what to expect from your communications/PR professional. Do you have anything you want to add to these lists?