About The Communications Network

The Communications Network envisions a world in which nonprofit organizations and foundations use innovative and effective communication programs to advance their missions, improve lives and deliver social change.

We believe communication matters. Organizations that communicate well are stronger, smarter, and more effective at creating change.

The Network is a nonprofit organization comprised of social sector leaders from foundations, nonprofits and consulting firms across the globe who share the belief that smart strategic communications have the power to transform society and improve lives. Founded nearly 30 years ago by the late Frank Karel of The Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations to help social change leaders improve their work and “get the word out”, today The Network is the premier leadership organization for nonprofit communications professionals.

The Communications Network’s Board includes senior leaders from some of the world’s most consequential social change organizations. Among them: Ford Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, The John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and The Duke Endowment

Our mission:

The Communication Network supports foundations and nonprofits to improve lives through the power of smart communications.

What We Do: Community + Learning + Leadership 

We deliver timely access to knowledge, expertise, practical advice, and guidance to help everyone in the social sector improve their work and better understand the unique role strategic communication plays in advancing mission and driving social change.

We connect professionals working in the social sector to each other. We provide guidance and mentoring on communications and regularly offer learning and networking opportunities through webinars and other presentations, both online and in local communities, and at our annual conference.

Why communication matters

In recent years, growing numbers of foundations and nonprofits have recognized the value of using strategic communications as a tool for advancing their missions and extending their impact.

Several forces drive investment in more robust communications: a desire by nonprofits and foundations to demonstrate the results of their efforts; a desire to be more transparent; and a need to respond to increasing scrutiny from policy makers and the media.

As a result, nonprofits and foundations are implementing sophisticated and comprehensive communications programs. These enhanced activities require a deep knowledge of how to create and deliver messages, how to brand and position organizations, and how to integrate new forms of communications technology and social networking tools into communication programs.


We help those who do good do better.



Watch the video below for a brief history of The Communications Network and the story behind our mission.

Video credits: Minna Jung-script; Eric Brown-narration; Jai Sen-direction; Bishakh Som-illustration

For additional information, contact us, or phone 202-355-4909.

Join us. To set up your membership in The Communications Network, click here.

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