How to make communications more efficient for your nonprofit radio station

A strong communications plan helps nonprofit broadcasters secure donations.
Date Published
02/13/2017

Developing and refreshing a communications plan is an important task for nonprofit and religious broadcasters. Every station has a kind of plan in place, although some are informal or otherwise not set down explicitly or completely in writing.

Taking the time to develop a communications plan that is clearly written and ready for revisions and updates as needed keeps staff and volunteers on the same page. Let’s consider some advice for developing a useful, actionable plan and keeping it relevant:

Scale the plan and focus to your organization

In an ideal world, every nonprofit and religious broadcaster would have the time and resources to develop the same types of communications plans that the largest international charities and similar organizations use. However, that’s simply not possible for most stations. Don’t consider this as purely a negative. While the plans of the largest nonprofits are detailed and involve plenty of research and forecasting, they’re operating on a much broader level than most broadcasters.

What your station needs more than that level of detail is a plan that’s easily understood and accessible by all stakeholders, as crowdfunding site Razoo pointed out. A communications plan that provides practical guidance when developing the script for on-air outreach or the text for an online campaign is doing its job very well, even though it doesn’t involve the work of dozens of employees and consultants.

Consistency in a nonprofit communications plan helps all of the involved elements align effectively.Consistency in a nonprofit communications plan helps all of the involved elements align effectively.

Developing some consistent messaging to use in your requests for donations and other efforts and planning for consistency in communications across multiple channels are two important recommendations from Razoo. There are plenty of other considerations to make, like creating schedules for major communications efforts and devoting time to update the plan itself.

Focus on consistency

Nonprofit communications veteran Nancy Schwartz extolled the virtues of consistency in such plans, saying one of the biggest benefits is easier, quicker recognition and recall among your audience. For nonprofit broadcasters, aligning fundraising campaigns across social media, promotional efforts during broadcasts, mailers, phone calls and other avenues for outreach ensures the message is clear to potential donors. No matter how donors make the next connection with your station, they’ll quickly know you’re the one reaching out to them. This baseline of consistency gives you more time to focus on the meat of the message – the request for donations, appeal to volunteer at an upcoming event or another desired end result.

Another element to consider in terms of a consistent communications plan is the type of outreach used and the specific groups of donors you want to connect with. Some campaigns target all listeners and supporters, but others have a more specific focus. By using donor management software, you can effectively segment your supporters into groups based on a variety of collected data, from demographic information to donation history. Along with an effective and consistent communications plan, valuable data about supporters can spur your fundraising efforts on to further success.

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