(This is cross-posted from the Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy blog, where a modified version recently appeared.)
Guest Post: Dan Cohen and Edit Ruano
In the summertime, many foundations and philanthropies experience a lull in their engagement with their grant recipients and with the community. This lull often occurs because key organization staff is away or because the beautiful weather makes people less inclined to expand and strengthen their communications work.
Regardless of the reason, we have identified five simple ideas that will help your organization embrace a number of communications channels in the summer months. If you adopt one or all of these tips, you will reinvigorate your foundation and help build momentum for the Fall and Winter months.
Some ideas for summer communications engagement are:
1. Delegate Work to Others in Your Organization
Take the opportunity to let go by spending an hour with your staff brainstorming new ideas on how to engage with your audience/community. Pick 2 or 3 of the most interesting ideas and delegate a staff person to oversee their implementation. Not only will this make your staff feel empowered and excited about being included in planning; it will also help you tap into the creativity that surrounds you during a low-risk period. Who knows? These ideas could serve as a backbone for your communications efforts later in the year.
2. Program E-Blasts
As with social media posts, it is important to consistently distribute emails to those who signed up for your newsletters. The emails don’t have to be long or complex; they simply have to show your community that you want to stay actively engaged with them even in the summer months. Some ideas for the email content during the summer are previews of the work you will be doing in the fall or reflections on your organization’s previous accomplishments. This content can also be used to inform your Facebook posts and tweets
3. Consider Reaching Out to Editorial Pages
Do you have a few ideas for op-eds that you haven’t developed? Are there grant recipients or individuals in the community who are willing to write an op-ed about your organization’s work? Then take some time to coordinate or write these editorials before heading out on vacation! You can send the op-eds to a few media outlets and see if they are picked up in your absence. The bonus is if the editorials run, you can use them to inform your social media content and e-blasts. If they don’t run while you are away, then reach out to those media outlets when you return.
4. Develop a Schedule of Pre-Programmed Social Media Content
There are some great online resources that can help your organization stay active on social media even when you are out of the office. Websites like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to load prepared tweets and Facebook posts and schedule them to go out whenever you like. We recommend that you schedule at least one Facebook post and 2-3 Tweets a week.
5. Build And Strengthen Your Network for the Future
Summer is the time of year when people want to relax, so why not take advantage of this inclination and host a get together with potential partners? Reach out to organizations and individuals with whom you’ve wanted to connect and invite them to a relaxed gathering. If the conversations prove fruitful, suggest having these new partners “cover” your issues by writing a blog post about your work. This effort will have the added benefit of bringing a fresh perspective to the work you do.
Again, these are just 5 ideas that we identified as effective ways to continue engaging with communications channels during the summer. But we want to hear from you.
What are some of your ideas for continuing your advocacy in the summer months? Please share in the comment section below.
Dan Cohen, founder, and Edit Ruano, communications counselor, are both with Full Court Press Communications.