Devcom Matters with Ebenezer ASUMANG: Designing a sustainable non-profit organisation communication strategy

Communication has
  • The result of bad communication is a disconnection between strategy and execution

 ——-Chuck Martin, New York Times Business Bestselling author

Non-profits sometimes face challenges such as lack of funding, limited resources, and poor communication tools. But in today’s age of technology, like-minded people can donate, volunteer, and raise money for non-profits around the world like never before. To reach audiences, non-profits must employ some basic communication strategies to connect with the right audience.

If a non-profit organisation wants to maximise its contributed income, it needs a coherent, executable development plan, and that plan must have a viable communications strategy.

  1. Determine objectives for non-profit organisation’s communication

For most non-profits, a communication strategy should include benchmarks that track efforts to achieve success and/or failure. This ensures plans can be optimised and improved to help drive future campaigns. In this regard, stories can be used to help move an organisation away from dry statements of policy, mission and values to painting vivid pictures in words which have real impact. A good story is:

  • Simple: it doesn’t try to cover too much base.
  • Short: no more than a minute, easy to remember, no script needed.
  • Active: story about doing things.
  • True: telling a true story is an opportunity to speak honestly about the organisation and on

Good stories feature:

A strong character: a person at the centre close to our hearts

A turning point: a change or a solution.

Stories are not always serious. Short and humorous actions can show that you realise that your organisation has limits too.

Typically, a communication strategy should include goals such as:

  • Establish the brand image and overall message of the organisation.
  • Disclose the organisation and/or cause.
  • Interact with a wider audience.
  • Maintain or increase support from donors, volunteers, and

2. Establish a target audience

To establish a target audience, non-profits must first identify a person’s interests, desires, and wishes to join or help the non-profit. The identification of the target market can be done by:

  • Researching different blogs related to non-profits.
  • Observing your audience interacting with online content related to the organisation or a similar cause.
  • Investigate how audiences find existing ads or online content from competing organisations.

Once a target audience has been established, the non-profit can accurately communicate its history and mission. This increases the chances of interested people volunteering or contributing to the organisation.

3. Utilise multiple social media network

Facebook and Twitter are arguably the most popular of the social networks; however, opening up communication through a larger number of channels is a great way to broaden the scope of the audience. Other channels include Linked In, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, and Vine. Depending on the audience the organisation is targeting, being active on a single network is simply not enough these days.

The American Red Cross is a great example of a non-profit that uses multiple social networks to connect with a large audience. With over 1.8 million followers on Twitter and nearly 700,000 followers on Facebook, the American Red Cross has the ability to reach a large audience while providing useful information to its readers. This information can include tips for driving safely on winter roads, fire drills and even heroic stories from people around the country who have benefitted from the organisation.

UNICEF has also reached a significant audience and created new opportunities to encourage countries to invest in education. Through social media, the non-profit publishes powerful images and messages that can be easily shared among its millions of followers. By interacting with individuals across multiple networks, these inspirational images and messages can be spread across different online communities, drawing more attention to their organisation and attracting more attention, as well as getting more followers and donation at the same time.

Non-profits can benefit from posting helpful and relevant content on social media to spread their mission to new volunteers and potential donors. Each will have a unique approach to telling their story. In addition to traditional communication or marketing methods for the non-profit’s mission, there are several new possibilities to choose from with social media, including creating blogs, commenting on existing blogs, join discussion groups and post status updates on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

4. Tell the organisation’s story to all

A good story can be told to people of all ages and cultures. A great story can inspire, attract a lot of attention or mention something meaningful in the lives of people around the world. The most memorable stories often feature unique characters and an issue or problem that people connect with emotionally. Continue telling these stories as part of any successful communication strategy.

Non-profits must work to connect with audiences through great storytelling. Storytelling comes in many forms. Using multiple media is a great way to enhance and expand your communication strategy. The important thing is that the story both engages the audience and gives them something of value. Whether it’s to expand knowledge or growth through volunteering, to communicate effectively, non-profits need to offer something that aligns with their audience’s passions.


About the Writer

Ebenezer is a Development Communication professional with a penchant for researching, practising and writing on multi-sectoral issues related to development communication globally.

You can reach him on [email protected]

LinkedIn: Ebenezer Asumang

Instagram: eben_asumang

Facebook:  Ebenezer Asare Asumang







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