Category Archives: communication

Invest in the Strategic Communications Capacity of Policy Grantees

This is a guest post by Lora Smith, Communications Officer at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Public policy discussion has always been a cornerstone of American democracy. Policy change can’t happen without constructive public discourse and influence. Getting to that influence involves persuasive conversations and well-framed messages. Policy advocacy organizations must reach and effectively communicate to diverse audiences, and continually deliver compelling data and narratives in order to achieve their desired outcomes. At its very core, policy advocacy is an exercise in strategic communications. However, a recent report from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation finds that policy advocacy organizations may suffer from a lack of capacity when it comes to communications, frustrating their attempts to change conversations and ultimately change … Continue reading Invest in the Strategic Communications Capacity of Policy Grantees

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The Power of a Communications Plan: Why You Need One Now, and How to Get It Rolling

One of the most important — yet overlooked and underestimated — actions foundations can take to ensure the success of their grantmaking initiatives is to develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan. Believe me, I know that this is tough to do at the beginning of your grantmaking program, when you’re in the middle of planning and launching. But I also guarantee you that if you don’t prioritize communications planning now, you’re going to pay the price later, when your grantees and partners aren’t coordinated and stakeholders and other funders are confused by what you’re trying to do. The good news is that there are three simple things you can do immediately: Make communications a priority right now. This can’t … Continue reading The Power of a Communications Plan: Why You Need One Now, and How to Get It Rolling

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Announcing the Blog Team for the Communications Network Annual Conference

I’m thrilled to announce the Communications Network/Philanthropy411 Blog Team for the Communications Network Fall 2013 Annual Conference!  We’ll be blogging from New Orleans starting with the pre-conference sessions on Wednesday, October 2nd.  Follow along with the conference hashtag:  #comnetwork13 and follow @Com_Network and @Philanthropy411 for tweets about the conference and blog posts. Here is your  Communications Network/Philanthropy411 Blog Team: Cynthia Dodd Adcock Vice President, Communications and Marketing Independent Sector @cyndodd William Albert Chief Program Officer The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy @balbert1   Liz Banse Vice President Resource Media @LizBanse   Dan Brady Communications Manager Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers @givingforum   Jorge Cino Creative Writer & Nonprofit Communications Specialist @jorgecino   Kate Emanuel Senior Vice … Continue reading Announcing the Blog Team for the Communications Network Annual Conference

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15 Tips for Effective Communications Planning

I’ve helped dozens of foundations to develop and launch new grantmaking initiatives. One of the lessons I’ve learned is the importance of communications planning – early and often. As one colleague advised me, “Communications begins the moment you open your mouth and start talking about the idea of your initiative.”  Yet communications planning often gets overlooked. To help one of our clients prepare for communications planning for a new initiative, I conducted brief research to identify recommended components of a communications plan, and approaches to communications planning. I wanted to share some of the key findings with you, in hopes that it helps you with communications planning for your philanthropic initiatives and programs. A Strategic Communications Plan Should Have Internal … Continue reading 15 Tips for Effective Communications Planning

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Latest Ideas About Philanthropy Communication

Philanthropy411 recently covered the Communications Network 2010 Fall Conference with the help of a blog team. Altogether there were 41 conference attendees who tweeted, blogged and conducted on the spot video interviews about the latest developments and challenges in effective foundation communications. Below is a list of all blog posts published for this event, and you can check out highlights from the video interviews here. A great is example is this video of Daniel Silverman, Director of Communications at one of our favorite clients, The James Irvine Foundation, discussing what he learned about “crowdsourcing” at the conference. 1.  Announcing the Communications Network Conference Blog Team! By Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting; Twitter: @philanthropy411 2. Translating the Philanthropy and … Continue reading Latest Ideas About Philanthropy Communication

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Can Surowiecki Help Us Make Wiser Grantmaking Decisions?

Philanthropy411 is currently covering the Communications Network and CommA Fall 2010 Conference in Los Angeles with the help of a blog team, which is part of the conference’s 2nd annual Gorilla Engagement Squad.  This is a guest post by Daniel Silverman, Director of Communications, The James Irvine Foundation. Follow Daniel on Twitter: @IrvineFdn by:  Daniel Silverman The Communications Network conference got rolling this morning with a plenary speech by James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and New Yorker columnist. I won’t attempt to summarize the speech, which summarized the book. Instead, in a convenient bit of serendipity, I’ll point you to Wikipedia, perhaps the best known example of the wisdom of crowds being greater than the wisdom of … Continue reading Can Surowiecki Help Us Make Wiser Grantmaking Decisions?

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Flying into a Paradox

Philanthropy411 is currently covering the Communications Network and CommA Fall 2010 Conference in Los Angeles with the help of a blog team, which is part of the conference’s 2nd annual Gorilla Engagement Squad.  This is a guest post by Lucas Held, Director of Communications at the Wallace Foundation.  Follow the foundation on Twitter:  @WallaceFdn by:  Lucas Held So here’s a paradox. I’m on US Airways Flight 21, flying across the continent to attend the annual Communications Network conference to better understand … yes… the emerging social media landscape. That’s right. Not an online discussion group with threaded conversations. Not a webinar where you type in questions. Not a conference call. Not Skype, nor a Wiki. But an actual meeting with … Continue reading Flying into a Paradox

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15 Ways To Improve Grantee Communication at Your Foundation

This was originally posted by me as a guest blogger on the Philanthropy News Digest’s blog,  PhilanTopic, and re-posted on the Communications Network blog. Clear communication with grantees matters: Grantees are typically a foundation’s chosen agents of change, selected for their ability to create impact. The better a foundation can communicate its goals and strategies to grantees, the more effective these partnerships will be — and the more likely grantees will be to perform in ways that are consistent with the foundation’s goals. (Center for Effective Philanthropy). Effective communication with grantees is not just the job of program staff, but of staff at all levels of the foundation – from administrative assistants, to human resources, communications, evaluation, and executive staff.  … Continue reading 15 Ways To Improve Grantee Communication at Your Foundation

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