In the collection of approximately 74 million templates, white papers, how to guides, and toolkits that I have found on the web and hoarded over the years, this has probably in my top five most useful: the Non-Profit Communications Grid, by Carol Goglia of Communities Foundation of Texas. I found this resource on Kivi LeRoux Miller’s site, Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog (well worth following).
This very simple and intuitive method enables you to create a grid for your communications plan, be it year-round communications for your organisation, or communications for a specific campaign. Goglia suggests that you use a grid so you can map your communications against these key criteria:
- Goal & Message – what are you trying to achieve and what are the key messages you need to communicate?
- Target Audience(s) – who are the people who will help you achieve the goal?
- Key Channels – how are you getting the message out? What medium is best for which target audience?
- Date – when exactly are these activities happening?
Read Goglia’s post to understand how to set up the grid – it’s very concise and clear.
I have adopted and adapted this method for my own work, and have created my own template. Goglia includes samples on the blog post and provides a Powerpoint template; however I find that a spreadsheet is much better suited to this type of planning.
The reason for this is that a spreadsheet allows you to set up the key criteria in columns. Once your spreadsheet is populated with all your activities, you can sort by Channel, Audience, Goal, etc, and see at a glance if you have any gaps in your plan – if there are audiences or channels that you are neglecting. You can also tell if you’re over-communicating to one audience, or relying too heavily on one channel. And as a spreadsheet can hold a lot more information than a Powerpoint slide, you can add extra columns to track KPIs, who is responsible for each activity, audience size, sign off on each activity – any number of other elements that you need to record.