Not long ago I wondered out loud what it would be like to be the communications director for a foundation planning to spend down. I asked:
What would your final annual report say? How would you describe your foundation’s accomplishments? Would you have the evidence to back up your claims? Or would those achievements rest on a pile of anecdotes destined to fade over time? Could you tell a story rich with lessons? Would your foundation be remembered for the impact it created and in a way that positively highlighted what philanthropy can accomplish when done well?”
In a post a few weeks ago, I wrote how the nonprofit sector was increasingly relying on new forms of digital distribution to “put valuable knowledge in the hands of more people who can learn from, act on, even build on it.” In writing that post, I neglected to mention IssueLab, which serves as a terrific distribution platform for all sorts of useful nonprofit research.
I had the privilege last week of leading a session at the Council on Foundations annual conference on the topic When Program and Communications are Integrated, Good Things Happen for Foundations. It was heartening to see that our session attracted communications professionals as well as those who hold program and executive management positions at foundations. Those individuals responsible for grantmaking or overall foundation management were as engaged in the discussion and as supportive of the ideas being bandied about as their communications colleagues.
Good foundation and nonprofit communications efforts rightly start with the question: What are we trying to accomplish?
But just as important, if not more so, is: Are we aiming our messages at the right audiences?
During a past Communications Network webinar, Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen, authors of a new book The She Spot: Why Women Are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them, discussed with host Andy Goodman, why women must be a key target in any social change campaign.
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