Nonprofit Strategic Communication

If you are working to master the messaging of your mission to share with the public, start by looking within. Sounds very spiritual doesn’t it? But really, good nonprofit strategic communication begins within an organization before ever setting out to share with everyone else. 

Before you communicate with an audience, get together with your board and staff and get your stuff straight.

Have a coherent mission. While what you do may seem clear to you, it is important to make sure it’s streamlined to appeal to others. Before mass nonprofit strategic communication communication, get…

Brand cohesion

  • Logo (graphic designing)
  • Mission statement
  • Vision Statement
  • Core values

Time spent getting these basic elements correct, constantly clear and coherent within your mission is vital; momentum and potential support relies on it. Branding and mission clarity is a constant effort. 

Logo

When creating a logo, the goal is to make it simple, clear, memorable, versatile, and unique

While there are lots of DIY logo creators online, this might be one area to hire a professional. Your logo will be one of the biggest factors in your brand and message to the public because it will be everywhere – websites, business cards, ‘swag’, newsletters, emails, etc. If you do decide to create your logo yourself, take the time to do some research about the psychology of color, symbolism, and the basic principles behind creating an effective logo.

Mission Statement

A mission statement should answer several questions:

What do you do? Keep this simple and free from industry- jargon. 

How do you do it? Think of your organization’s values here.

Why do you do it? The purpose and passion behind the mission.

While the what and how of a mission is important, I would argue the why is one of the most important factors. Why something is important is one of the more motivating and inspirational aspects to an organization. Try to incorporate some feeling and emotion behind the mission statement. 

For example, Starbuck’s mission statement is, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”

See how they convey a mood and a feeling while they explain what they do? How you can tug at heartstrings within your mission statement?

Vision Statement

Like the mission statement, the vision statement helps encapsulate the core of the organization. But while the mission statement talks about the what, how, and why, the vision statement describes future dreams and goals for the organization.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the vision statement. 

Some believe it should be used for internal purposes, and some believe it should be used for external purposes. Perhaps it could be used for both?

In other words, the vision should help inspire the stakeholders, employees, board, and those within the operations of the organization 

OR/AND

the vision should help inspire the public to really help them grasp what the organization is trying to accomplish while inviting them on the journey.

Think of the vision as the desired, long-term, goal of the organization. And think big here.

To take another page from the Starbucks playbook, the Starbucks vision statement is, “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”

Core Values

When it comes to a brand, the core values are the beliefs that the organization is built upon. These beliefs influence your internal decisions and your consumers’ interpretation of your brand. The values should be aligned with your organization’s mission and values. 

A good way to come up with your core values is a good old fashioned brainstorming session. Get your Board (big b) together and a brainstorming board (little b) together and write down all the keywords that come to mind. Many believe narrowing core values down to just three focuses is the way to go, though some organizations have closer to five.

Examples could be:

Authenticity, Passion, Quality, Collaboration, Care, Innovation, Compassion, Leadership, etc.

The best brand values should be clear, cultivate connection, and help your organization stand apart from the crowd. You will incorporate these values in your mission messaging, stories, appeals, communications, and decisions. 

And you guessed it, we are going to take a look at Starbucks Core Values:

Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome. Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other. Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.”

Once you’ve crafted these branding tools, take the time to run a few small focus groups. Ask friends and family to evaluate logos and branding. Ask them to judge if the message you’re trying to create is what they are understanding. Tweak with their important input.

Mastering your branding through your mission, vision, and core values with help all of your advocates be on the same page. Knowing how you want to package your mission will help you better deliver your message to the rest of the world.

Nonprofit Sustainability

Madison Gonzalez

Madison Gonzalez

Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc.
Madison Gonzalez is a National Public Speaker, Storyteller of the Year Award-Winner, Best-Selling Author of Dear Mirror, Events Manager, and Published Poet. She is also the Advancement Director at Morning Light, Inc., and Indianapolis-based nonprofit that fosters community programs in Indiana for the terminally ill, seniors, families and the home-bound. As a storytelling coach and consultant, it is her mission to empower others to share their stories for impact and income. Madison can be reached at madison@toldcoaching.com.
Madison Gonzalez