About The Communications Network
Community | Learning | Leadership
We are a collegial, peer-driven community of foundation and nonprofit communications professionals who share ideas, evidence, and lessons about how smart communications improve lives. Through meetings and events, publications, social outreach, and an online community, we elevate the role of communications across the social sector. We help our members build relationships, skills, and confidence to navigate a shifting information landscape and to be a voice for change that benefits both individuals and society.
We connect the field
The Communications Network is made up of leaders from the world’s most influential and consequential foundations, nonprofits and social sector-focused consultancies. We believe folks working in communications for good, and in turn the organizations they serve, will be stronger, smarter and more effective if they have a strong network of colleagues and peers to look to for ideas, advice, collaboration, and honest feedback.
We offer learning opportunities and share new ideas, smart strategies, and best practices
Folks working in comms for good are deeply committed to their organizations and missions, often working with limited capacity to address bold objectives. Most days there isn’t much time to lift your head up and seek out new ideas, winning strategies and best practices on your own. The Network staff focuses on bringing these to its members and the field through our programming and events.
We help leaders lead and make the case for strategic communications as a significant tool for change
At many foundations and nonprofits, communications is not seated at the strategy table. That is misguided. As Network Board member Andrew Sherry of the Knight Foundation noted in Stanford Social Innovations Review, “…communications is not an adjunct to the work, increasingly, it is the work” — a critical strategic lever for delivering impact and change. A talented, well equipped, high performing comms team is a strategy team — adept at elevating and advancing an org’s mission and goals by listening to, understanding, and engaging key audiences.
The Network started with a call for help…
Nearly 40 years ago, Frank Karel became the new Communications lead at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The first ever.
Frank knew communications. But he was new to the social sector and didn’t know where to begin…
So he picked up the phone and called a colleague at the Rockefeller Foundation who had a similar sounding title, and asked for help. They met for lunch a short time later, and The Communications Network was born.
Fast forward to today, and The Network counts over 1,600 members from across the globe and across the social good spectrum, including leaders from the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and World Wildlife Fund, and hundreds more.
You don’t have to go it alone.
The Communications Network’s Board of Directors is made of senior communications leaders from some of the social sector’s most impactful organizations.
Meet the dedicated staff behind The Communications Network.
Our Strategic Plan
The Communications Network’s Board, with valuable input from Network members, formulated a new strategic plan to guide the organization through 2021. The strategic plan reflects the Network’s core values—Community, Learning, and Leadership.