PivotPath

inclusive communications

Inclusive Communications to the Masses

By: Justin Roshak and Ashley Przybylski

Every organization needs flexibility, innovation, and meritocracy to keep up in a fast-paced global economy. Inclusion is a core value that supports these goals, and organizations that prioritize inclusion will find themselves open to new opportunities in staff, partnerships, and markets.

Inclusive Communications. It’s a modern buzzword for an old idea. But what does it mean, and how can organizations practice inclusion when communicating with the public?

Inclusion may not come naturally to individuals or organizations. Differences in culture, language, and perspective can be challenging to identify without prior experience. Technology makes it easy to approach the world with a one-fits-all approach, leaving out some audiences. An organization’s makeup is rarely broad as its potential clients or partners.

Focus on Commonalities

Few organizations are built from the ground up to work across every possible line of geography, culture, and language. The staff you have, and the partners you’ve worked with, will inevitably shape expectations—which don’t always fit new opportunities. Worst of all, knowing when cross-cultural communication has succeeded—or fallen flat can be challenging. 

For example, PivotPath has worked on a series of communications projects in the West African nation of Sierra Leone as part of a European Union international development and democratization project. 

Sierra Leone’s residents speak multiple major languages and many minor ones. As in the US, partisanship is a sharp dividing line—the country is still recovering from a vicious civil war in the 1990s. For messaging to succeed in these circumstances, it must be inclusive. 

When developing outreach videos, clothing and skin color are needed to match local expectations. Images avoided signifiers of political parties or regions (still very sensitive subjects) and leaned into shared national identity symbols. Messaging focused on common goals: peace, democracy, and shared prosperity. At all content production and dissemination levels, communication sought to unite and energize. 

Inclusive messaging recognize commonalities and seeks to build on them. It provides a framework for collaboration while remaining sensitive to natural divisions. 

“The common emotions we all face are things I want our communications for our clients to focus on. If we can do communications that bring people together, drawing the strengths on our differences, then we are truly succeeding.” —Elizabeth M’balu Oke

 

Build—and Sustain—a Diverse Communication Team

The American Civil Liberties Union found that “there are higher voting rates in minority communities where radio station owners are of the same ethnicity”. Media diversity stimulates audiences’ engagement through shared backgrounds. But when there is a lack of diversity, the sense of trust is not as strong and can lead to viewers being less engaged, leading to the voting numbers going down. 

And yet, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Hispanics make up 18% of the workforce but only 12% of the media industry. Similarly, research from Pew Research Center shows that only 7% of newsroom employees are Black, but 11% of U.S. workers.

As with media, so too with any twenty-first-century communications team.

One reason the PivotPath team can succeed in the U.S. and international projects is its diverse makeup. PivotPath’s staff is mixed with team members representing different cultural backgrounds, generations, and social lifestyles and brings diverse experiences in sales, marketing, and journalism. As a result, there is a broader pool of perspectives and ideas than if the firm had hired from only one place or field. 

Organizations should strive toward inclusion in all positions relating to mass communication. But this is just a place to start. By building and supporting a diverse media and communications team, your message has a greater reach as it will resonate with a broader audience. 

Companies also need to listen to what their employees have to say. Hire talented, diverse voices, and listen to them. Employees from underrepresented communities can help their organizations communicate more effectively with these communities.

 

Use Person-Focused Language

 

The words we choose can be a powerful tool for getting our message across—or they can unintentionally exclude or alienate individuals or groups. A rigorous understanding of subtext and subtleties can take many years of experience to fully grasp, let alone incorporate into an organization’s messaging DNA. But there are hard-and-fast rules to avoid common pitfalls.

A strategic rule of thumb is to emphasize language that is person-focused and as broadly inclusive as possible. In practice, this can take several forms.

Person-centered language is most obviously useful in the context of persons with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness/unemployment, or people without homes/jobs, which are much more empathetic terms than “blind”, “disabled”, “homeless”, or “unemployed”. The former are conditions, while the latter are unwelcome labels. No one wants to be personally identified with their troubles.

Instead of phrases like “Black and White”, say “all races and ethnicities”. This ensures that groups of other geographic origin are automatically included and neatly elides certain complexities. For example, Latinx persons in North America may constitute an ethnicity or a race, depending on context. This broad approach keeps communications maximally inclusive.

Referring to a title or role promotes meritocracy and inclusive communications. An equally inclusive set of terms is “everyone” or “colleagues”, in place of “ladies and gentlemen”; For terms such as, “chairman” or “policewoman”. Much preferable are “chair”, “chairperson”, or “police officer”. Reference the office, not the gender of the officeholder. Research shows that gendered professional terms have real-world implications when they come up against deeply-ingrained gender stereotypes. 

Politics is another pitfall. Unless engaged in direct political activism for a cause or party, it is usually preferable to refer to “Americans”, “citizens”, or “residents” instead of “Democrats and Republicans”. An inclusive messaging strategy seeks to build commonality; politically-charged labels are often inimical to that goal.

PivotPath’s Inclusive Communications

Do you want to build inclusion into your organization’s DNA but aren’t sure how? Our communication creators at PivotPath have the tools and expertise to help. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

PivotPath and the International Republican Institute — Storytelling for Democracy

International Republican Institute

PivotPath partners with the International Republican Institute (IRI) to create compelling visual content in support of the Center for Global Impact’s mission to encourage inclusive politics that are issue-driven and citizen-led. 

About the Client:

The International Republican Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. IRI’s workshops and programs encourage the growth of democracy, help democracies become more inclusive, and share best practices from flourishing democratic systems. 

The IRI Center for Global Impact researches the state of democratic politics, ensuring that IRI efforts are evidence-based. The Center offers programmes that build capacity among democratic advocates and publishes reports that inform policymakers and activists on best practices.

The Solution:

PivotPath will ensure the Center for Global Impact has the visual communication and messaging tools it needs to engage policymakers, activists, and the public at large, wherever the work of building (or re-building) democracy is being done. 

 

Core tasks will be informative graphic design and compelling visual storytelling. The core strategy will focus on cultivating a narrative of possibility and momentum that builds on IRI’s nearly forty-year history of promoting democracy and a strong existing brand. PivotPath will draw on its experiences with (re)building democracy, such as the European Union’s governance programming in Sierra Leone and the rollout of a Campaign Finance Board in Suffolk County, New York.

PivotPath voted BEST OF GWINNETT 2021





The results are in, and it’s official: PivotPath has been voted Best of Gwinnett 2021 in the Marketing Firms category! Our team appreciates everyone who voted, and we look forward to another great year of providing marketing and communication services locally and internationally.  It’s an honor to be recognized by the people we work for and with each day.

The Best of Gwinnett contest is run by Gwinnett Magazine and includes businesses in more than 20 broad categories. Every year, thousands of votes are cast by Gwinnett County residents and consumers to recognize their favorite local businesses. To see more local winners, visit www.guidetogwinnett.com/best.

africanbusiness

PivotPath created and spearheaded the development of LaunchPad Africa‘s piloted Business Accelerator program.




LaunchPad Africa

PivotPath created and spearheaded the development of LaunchPad Africa‘s piloted Business Accelerator program for Freetown, Sierra Leone.

About the Client:

Launchpad Africa is a DC-based non-profit with a mission to support African Entrepreneurs (specifically in Sierra Leone) in launching and sustaining their businesses by equipping and empowering them with the tools and resources necessary to be profitable. The organization envisions a world where the African entrepreneur is successful enough to take the lead on decisions being made regarding Africa’s growth and advancement.

As a new Accelerator program, Launchpad Africa wanted to provide its participants with networking, mentorship, and resource allocation to skyrocket the success of proven business ideas.

The Challenge:

The LaunchPad Africa team had to determine how to structure and launch this program in the most beneficial and relevant manner to individuals living in Sierra Leone.

The Solution:

We developed an intensive 4-month accelerator program with a well-rounded curriculum that would give participants the proper knowledge and skills to equip and navigate the business arena.


africanbusiness

The Results:

Using insights internal and external to LaunchPad Africa, along with our expertise in thought leadership and training, our team successfully designed and developed a 16-module highly customized program curriculum outline and strategy including selected modules and module objectives; provided Launchpad Africa with a detailed agenda of each training; developed TORs for trainers of each module; and developed post-training evaluation and impact assessment

commissioner

PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.




Gwinnett County Government – County Commissioners

PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.

Summary:

In Summer 2021, PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.

The How am I doing? campaign aimed to provide Gwinnett County and County Commissioners with a Strategic Communications Plan for the campaign that will provide relevant information to the public while promoting effective public engagement on county issues.

About the Client: 

Gwinnett County is historically one of America’s fastest-growing counties and now one of the nation’s most diverse. This is the official website of the Gwinnett County Government. The county’s population in 2010 stood at 805,321, up more than 216,000 residents from the 2000 count of 588,448 (source: U.S. Census Bureau decennial population estimates). Gwinnett County’s population is expected to reach one million residents by the year 2022.

The Board is responsible for overseeing the creation of policies within the county, adopting the budget, authorizing expenditures, and approving or disapproving specific actions, such as rezoning private property.

The Challenge:

The biggest challenge the Board of Commissioners faced was bridging the gap between Gwinnett County officials and their residents. If residents are not familiar or aware of the Commissioners in their community or do not particularly trust them, engagement can be a challenge.

The Commissioners also valued stakeholder feedback but needed to collect the insights in an unbiased manner.

commissioner

The Solution:

To provide a trusting relationship between the officials and the residents, PivotPath created a public engagement plan. This plan focused on:

  • Enhancing the perception of the Commissioners and their initiatives by popularizing the Gwinnett County brand; letting the public know what’s planned; why, where, and for whom;
  • Encouraged all stakeholders to be actively interested in Gwinnett County reforms;
  • Reinforced/improved the County Commissioners’ image in Gwinnett and the state.

The Results:

The Gwinnett County Commissioners have a solid, strategic roadmap to successfully and effectively engage and connect with their stakeholders through market research efforts and community buy-in. 

tree planting

In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote the #FreetowntheTreetown reforestation campaign.




#FreetowntheTreetown Campaign

In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote its reforestation campaign.

Summary:

The mission of the #FreetowntheTreetown campaign is to plant and grow one million trees in Freetown, Sierra Leone by December 2022 while educating the general public on ways they can positively contribute towards a healthier and more sustainable community. In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote its reforestation campaign.

Campaigns to plant millions of trees have become popular urban responses to the current effects of climate change. Although the intended impact attracts millions in donor support each year, many tree planting campaigns have fallen far short of their goals. Organizations champion tree planting efforts as a feel-good, cure-all for global warming in their communities, yet many trees do not survive or deliver these championed benefits.

The Finor X Tree Wallet is the 1st (patent pending) chain of custody digital management for tree planting that shows growth impact over time. Each tree growing in Freetown is tokenized, and users buy tokens for access to the Tree Wallet App. Customers purchase a #FreetownTheTreetown item which allows them to digitally track the impact of their sustainable investment.

PivotPath developed a strategic marketing and communications plan, social media plan, and attractive social graphics to elevate the campaign’s visibility across multiple audiences.

About the Client:

Finor X fuses fashion and technology to combat climate change in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Following the undeniably severe deforestation effects which worsened the aftermath of the country’s 2017 mudslide, environmental advocates have evidence to back their support for this initiative. Also, Freetown, Sierra Leone has never undertaken a campaign of this kind.

Finor X, in partnership with the Freetown City Council and Greenstand, is set on a mission to plant one million trees as a response to the adverse effects of climate change, with the design and sale of the campaign-themed t-shirt.

qr code

FinorX has combined its fashion and technology roots to design the #FreetownTheTreeTown special edition t-shirt. In collaboration with the Freetown City Council, all shirts purchased will directly support the campaign, as one tree will be grown and monitored using a specialized app.

The shirt design includes the Cotton Tree—a historic symbol of Freetown—pictured with a cityscape underneath the tree, the text “Freetown” above the tree, and “The Tree Town” located below the cityscape. Shirt owners can monitor their growing trees, see the location, know the grower and monitor the survival of each tree using the TreeTracker app by scanning the QR code located on the shirt’s tag.

GROW A TREE treetown
GROW A TREE treetown

The Challenges:

There were two main challenges: (1) to create a campaign that would educate the community, engage community-based organizations and strategic partners, and empower Freetowneans to take the reigns of environmental sustainability within their city through reforestation and (2) to increase visibility and communications about the Tree Tracker app’s capabilities through fashion technology.

The Solution:

Our team focused on invoking feelings of community, empowerment, and peace of mind through a marketing and communications plan that encourages conversations on sustainability and incites change. We utilized digital media and video production efforts to help raise awareness about Finor X, the Tree Tracker app, and the fusion of fashion and technology to further connect Finor with its target audience.

The Results:

We provided Finor X with a communications strategy to convey the importance of tree planting in Sierra Leone and improve awareness for all residents, visitors, stakeholders, and partners who engage with the City of Freetown and abroad. The campaign had over 5,000 global impressions and reach. The campaign was also awarded the Bloomberg award in January 2022.

woman campaign

PivotPath partners with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board to develop and promote new program.

Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board

PivotPath is working with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) to provide promotion efforts that will increase the visibility and communications of Suffolk County’s Fair Election Campaign Matching Fund program. 

Summary:

PivotPath is working with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) to provide promotion efforts that will increase the visibility and communications of Suffolk County’s Fair Election Campaign Matching Fund program. The program’s mission is to engage, educate, and empower all County residents by amplifying the voice of all residents in county elections by matching small donor contributions with public funds.

About the Client: 

The Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) is a nonpartisan, independent county agency empowered and authorized to establish and promulgate all rules, policies, and procedures as it deems necessary for the proper administration of the established Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund.

The SCCFB landmark program empowers everyday citizens to run for city office by providing them with campaign finance support from their community, mitigating limited access to wealthy 

or special interest groups, granting threshold requirements, spending limits, and strictly ensuring that enforced reporting requirements are met.

The Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund aims to create and promote access and opportunity for residents to run for office; empower both grassroots and incumbent candidate participation in Suffolk electoral process; minimize the perceived influence of big money in local politics and increase Suffolk County citizens’ confidence in the electoral process. 

voters
campaign finance

The Challenge:

The Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board is tasked with finding ways to connect with their audiences and inform them on how the program can help them get started on the path of running for County Legislative or Executive.

The organization also aims to increase general interest in voter participation by encouraging residents to get involved with the laws and social change issues within their community.

The Solution:

Our team plans on crafting an intensive marketing campaign that uses communication activities and visibility products of demonstrable impact to increase voter participation and awareness, provide campaign finance information to the public, enable more citizens to run for office, strengthen the role of small contributors, reduce the change of actual or perceived corruption, and restore voter confidence in the electoral process.

The Results:

This project is currently underway, and results will be provided as soon as they are available. 

african american vaccinated

PivotPath has partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to increase public awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

Dekalb County Board of Health

PivotPath has partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to increase public awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

It's Up to You!
Language: English

It's Up to You!
Language: French

It's Up to You!
Language: Swahili

It's Up to You!
Language: Arabic

Summary:

PivotPath has partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to increase public awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and ways to prevent COVID-19 infections, and to facilitate community discussions to address barriers and concerns about COVID-19 vaccination to African American County residents, especially those 45-65 of age.

About the Client: 

The Dekalb County Board of Health (DCBOH) is a local government agency in Georgia dedicated to ensuring optimal and equitable medical and health access for all its residents. DCBOH’s programming efforts include various local health initiatives.

Its partnerships with community-based organizations improve access to healthcare, provide analysis of health trends to enhance care, increase public awareness of local health issues, and aim to prevent the spread of disease through education and early detection.

The Challenge:

The Dekalb County Board of Health is facing the challenge of efficiently and simplistically educating the targeted audience (African Americans; aged 45-65) about the COVID-19 and preventive measures that protect the public and mitigate the spread of the virus.

african american vaccinated

The Solution

The City of Clarkston, Georgia (in Dekalb County) is known as one of the most diverse cities in the country. Clarkston is the hub for the state’s refugee community, where over two dozen ethnicities and languages are spoken. To ensure those who may not be fluent in English, or who may not have English as a first language, have access to COVID-19 awareness materials, our team will develop a 2-minute animation video titled “It’s Worth a Shot”.

We will also created a strategic communications plan that will aid us in identifying community partners and digital platforms to effectively disseminate the video within the communities our targeted audiences reside.

strategic partnerships

Engaging Your Community Together: The Power of Creating and Maintaining Strategic Partnerships

Partnerships are a cornerstone of community outreach and engagement. When two or more organizations cohesively work together towards a common goal, greater presence and impact can occur. However, building a successful partnership requires organizations to strategically engage their communities together. To do so, organizations must learn how to utilize their strengths and effectively align with their strategic partners to serve their purpose. Doing so ensures your organization and its strategic partners have done their best to meet their goals on a global scale.

Engaging Your Community Together: The Power of Creating and Maintaining Strategic Partnerships

 1. Institute your organization’s internal goals and objectives

You have to identify your organization’s problems before you can decide which partnership to pursue. First and foremost, developing and examining your organization’s internal goals and objectives will help determine which goals to establish within the partnership. Brainstorming with your team to determine the goals, objectives, interests, and motivations behind the partnership reduces the use of resources and potential risks involving your organization in the partnership. It also increases your success rate in developing a plan that aligns with the expectations of the partner organization and your target group.

2. Analyze potential strategic partnerships

strategic partnerships

Conducting due diligence before engaging with potential partners will help your organization know your internal goals and objectives and those of your potential partners. Due diligence involves investigating potential partners with an audit. Before engaging with a potential partner organization, your organization must first develop its internal goals and objectives and then assess your potential partners. Designing your first partnership plan and asking your stakeholders for their feedback on your design will help your organization to decide whether or not to form the partnership. If you’re dead set on pursuing the partnership, your organization needs to formalize the partnership document or business case. A business case is a written document, short verbal agreement, or presentation that explains the reasoning behind starting a project or task.

3. Develop a business case

Developing a business case provides an avenue for the partnering decision-makers to discuss the coalition and objectives of the partnership with transparency. The business case defines the partnership goals, objectives, and budget for resources or returns on investment (if any). It also may include Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to track the progress of the partnership’s goals and objectives. It’s vital to keep your business case up-to-date and timely as it describes the partnership relationship for all parties involved.

A business case describes and involves:

  • The purpose, target audiences, objectives, and goals of the partnership
  • The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the partnership
  • The players involved in the partnership, including the target audience
  • Budgeting for resources or returns on investment
  • Quantitative and qualitative benchmarks

After developing a business case, delegate the roles and responsibilities for each partnering organization.

4. Determine the roles and responsibilities

Determining the roles and responsibilities within the partnership will ensure every partnering organization is doing its part. Using a governance structure describes what each organization is expected to achieve in the partnership. It creates a positive relationship between partners, as well as identifies stakeholders. Most notably, it can serve as a guiding and efficient organizational document should a challenge within the partnership arise.

Typically in a governance structure, depending on the level of need of the partnerships, there are usually two to three levels of groups:

  • The Strategic Group or Governance Group comprises representatives from all partner organizations involved and is responsible for achieving high-level decision-making on the overall objectives of the partnership.
  • The Partnership or Project Group includes a project manager from each organization. In addition to completing set tasks, the project manager is responsible for managing the project plan.
  • The Implementing Group involves representatives from all partner organizations. This group implements the activities and deliverables within the project plan and reports back to the Project Group. At this level, each partnership delivers its agreed-upon work.

Once you’ve determined the governance structure of your organization, mitigate the risks and conflicts associated with the partnership.

5. Mitigate the risks and conflicts

Mitigating the risks and conflicts of your partnerships increases the likelihood of achieving your mutual goals and objectives. It also improves the confidence and trusts your stakeholders and partners have in your organization.

Risk and conflict mitigation is a vital tactic in creating powerful partnerships. It should be assessed during the partnership due diligence before your organization has met with the potential partners and also during the partnership process.

A risk assessment can:

  1. Help you understand your partnership’s risk profile
  2. Analyze crucial risks
  3. Decide how to mitigate risks
  4. Mitigate your risks

Including your organization’s community during the risk assessment provides transparency for all parties involved. There is also power in numbers, so incorporating and also engaging your community, especially your partners, will improve the goals and objectives of your partnership.

6. Engage your community

Paying attention to your community, especially your stakeholders and your target audience, is crucial to engaging your community. If you don’t water and sunbathe your houseplants, eventually they’ll die. Similarly, if you don’t interact with your audience, your partnership and even your organization may cease to exist. You have to engage your community to know what they want and need from your organization in order for your partnership to thrive.

Organizations and their partnerships can engage their community simply by talking to them. A study from the Royal Horticultural Society found that talking to houseplants helps them grow faster. Likewise, conducting surveys, interviews, briefings, meetings in groups or one-on-one, town hall meetings, etc. will help to grow your organization as well as your partnership and its goals. Because engaging your community is also crucial to your organization’s flourishing, organizations should also engage their community in the decision-making processes, such as in the governance structure.

7. Manage the resources

Achieving your partnership’s objectives may be impossible if your partnership isn’t managing its resources, such as access, data, finance, and human resources.

Resource management helps build powerful partnerships through:

  • Developing documentation of the resources used to support the achievement of objectives and establish trust between partners and third-party funders
  • Ensuring transparency related to financial agreements in the partnership, including which partnership contributed which resources and incurred costs
  • Providing a fair division in the distribution of costs and resources between the partners

In addition, partnerships should make sure to incorporate a resource management plan that quantifies the resources into monetary terms. That way it is much easier to manage a budget.

8. Evaluate the efficacy of joint partnership

Along with resource management, organizations must evaluate the efficacy of the partnership. Partnerships are made powerful through resource management, a vital benchmark within a partnership’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework. The M&E framework fosters successful partnerships because it monitors project progress, resources, and risk. It also encourages learning within the partnership, and, most importantly, it creates and supports public accountability within the partnership.

Organizations in a partnership should utilize these M&E framework key steps to:

  1. Identify the KPIs, impact targets, and the range of M&E activities
  2. Develop a system to collect data and information within the range of M&E activities
  3. Collect data and document inputs, outputs, and outcomes
  4. Analyze and evaluate the data outcomes against KPIs and impact targets

Furthermore, organizations should evaluate not only their partnership projects but the partnership itself. Evaluating the partnership can improve the relationship between partners, provide recommendations for changes to roles and responsibilities within the partnership, and facilitate discussions to prevent potential disagreements in the future.

If this guide wasn’t enough to drive you down the road to developing your powerful partnership, our strategists at PivotPath can help you reach them. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

International Strategic Planning Month… Here are TOP elements you need in your plan to soar next fiscal year.

It is International Strategic Planning month, and time for organizations to develop their strategic plans for the year. Although it can seem cumbersome, strategic plans are vital to ensuring your organization meets its goals and objectives. It also aids your team in knowing where to properly manage time and resources and effectively reach your targeted audiences.

By answering the following questions, you will position your organization to soar this fiscal year.

International Strategic Planning Month… Here are TOP elements you need in your plan to soar next fiscal year.

1. Why does your organization need a strategic plan?

The first step in developing an annual strategic plan is to know why you want and need one. Consider the needs of your organization and the needs of your stakeholders. Perhaps your organization has never thought to put a strategic plan together in general. You might just be starting and need a new direction. Or maybe you had a tough year like many municipalities, foundations, and other organizations have had due to COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) created its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan 2021 (SPRP2021) in follow-up to the organization’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. These strategic actions focused on the new challenges, for example, to lessen the risks related to new variants—such as the safe, equitable, and effective delivery of diagnostics and vaccines.

The benefits of using a strategic plan include:

  • Paints a picture to stakeholders on progress within the organization
  • Promotes mission-driven values within the organization
  • Shows your organization is guided by success
  • Invites staff to be future-focused
  • Furthers the organization’s mission

2. What are your goals?

After understanding the purpose behind your organization’s strategic plan, the next step is to determine your goals. Goals and objectives should be specific and detailed. Decide what you want each department to develop and achieve, and your organization’s holistic goals and objectives based on the needs of your stakeholders.

– What if you can’t determine strategic goals and objectives?

Conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (S.W.O.T.) analysis can help you get there. This should be done at least once per year.

A S.W.O.T. analysis is done in order to help your organization formulate objectives.

Take the time to brainstorm internally to determine:

  • Strengths (internal) – What your organization does well.
  • Weaknesses (internal) – Where your organization can improve.
  • Opportunities (external) – What market trends could positively impact your organization.
  • Threats (external) – Which external factors (competitors, pandemic, etc.) could have a negative impact on your organization?

In addition to an internal S.W.O.T analysis, interviews, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, and town hall meetings are other forms of stakeholder research and examples of how your organization could better understand the needs of your stakeholders, which in turn helps to determine the goals and objectives of the organization.

3. What is your organization’s plans for the future?

It’s important to know why you’re creating a strategic plan for your organization so you can know where your organization is heading into the future. Consider the premises of your organization in order to determine the best future course of action.

– What are the internal and external premises of your organization?

Internal premises come from the organization itself. It is the beliefs, behaviors, and values of the executives and employees of the organization. Examples of internal premises include the forecasts, policies, and programs of the organization, competence of management, organizational capabilities, and other resources of the organization in the form of practices and, in some cases, profits.

External premises come from outside of the organization. It comprises of the cultural, economic, political, social, and technological environment and cannot be controlled by the organization. Examples of external premises include government policies and the rate of growth in the population and economy.

Crafting premises based on internal and external factors will ensure your organization’s strategic plan is feasible and sustainable. In addition to internal and external premises, feedback from downstream and upstream stakeholders should also be taken into account.

– What are downstream and upstream stakeholders?

Downstream stakeholders are the target audience. They’re those the organization seeks to influence and reach. It includes the general public, residents, visitors, media, advocacy influencers, and potential partners.

Upstream stakeholders develop the product to bring to the target audience. They are the other audience members that do not necessarily have to be influenced based on the information itself. Rather, their influence is in the dissemination of information and actively promoting the organization and its offerings.

4. How can your strategic plan aid in organizational sustainability?

international strategic planning

Knowing the internal and external premises and the kind of stakeholders your organization has is not the only way to forecast the future. Researching other ways in which your organization could achieve its goals is another avenue.

Aside from the S.W.O.T. analysis and knowing the feedback from your stakeholders, a community needs assessment or environmental scan can help your municipality or organization obtain information from the environment.

A community needs assessment provides municipalities and organizations with a picture of the local policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place. The assessment seeks to understand the needs of the community by gathering accurate information. It can help municipalities and organizations to identify areas for improvement in its services to their communities.

An environmental scan includes the ongoing tracking of trends and occurrences in an organization’s internal and external environment. Currently and in the future, these internal and external trends determine its success.

5. Which plan will your organization choose?

Once you’ve gathered all of the data you can to support your goals, it’s time to decide which plan or which model your organization will choose to implement. There are dozens of plans and models to choose from, portrayed in this article from ClearPoint Strategy, which features 16 of the most popular ones. In our last article, PivotPath introduced you to the PESO model for developing an effective communications and visibility plan. So how will you know which is best for your organization?

strategic plan

Before setting yourself up for confusion, consider these questions:

– Is it expensive?

Your organization will want to pay the least amount of money possible for whichever strategic plan or model you choose.

– Do the pros outweigh the cons?

Make sure your organization chooses the strategic plan or model that has more positive potential outcomes than negative ones.

– Is it fixed?

Finally, you’ll want a strategic plan or model that isn’t rigid or fixed but adaptable should things change with your objectives during the planning process.

– What will be your supporting plans?

After the initial strategic plan is in place, it’s important to determine a secondary, supporting plan to meet your goals. Some organizations can do this in their annual report that happens once per year, while the strategic planning timeline can take place anywhere from every one to five years.

Never made an annual report? No worries! PivotPath can help you to create your best annual report yet.

The benefits of using an annual report include:

  • Strengthens the relationship with the strategic plan by crafting newer strategies that further the strategic plan’s goals.
  • Supports the mission of the organization in daily practice.
  • Gives staff a clear course on their responsibilities to the plan and their department.

6. Are you listening?

The most important takeaway from creating your strategic plan is to make sure you’re listening and connecting with your stakeholders. Strategic planning and the background research involved may take anywhere from six to nine months. But it ensures that your organization will know what its stakeholders want and need, which will aid your organization in achieving its goals and objectives.

PivotPath has experience in B2G marketing and communications. We can help you implement your most successful strategic plan yet. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

Why Direct Mail is Essential in your Nonprofit End of Year Appeal

As the end of the year rolls in, campaigns to fund programming start to fill donors and supporters inboxes and mailboxes. Looking for a few tips to stand out as well as connect enough to maximize your fundraising efforts? Try direct mail!

There is a strategic link between direct mail and non-profit organizations. Furthermore, direct mail is the glue that holds together nonprofits and their donors.

Direct mail’s role in non-profit organizations

First, to incentivize donors and supporters, direct mail marketing strategies are essential. These strategic campaigns aim to remind stakeholders and supporters of the importance and uniqueness of their participation and donations. Examples of this are a sweet reminder to your partner of how much you care about them. However, to be effective, a direct mail campaign must include the following key elements. 

Personalization is key

postcard

Most of the time, emails are never opened by recipients. Due to the hyper-digital season of the pandemic, we live in an era where drawing someone’s attention using Emotional Intelligence. Therefore, it is important to send personalized handwritten messages by taking advantage of demographic information. Non-Profit Source’s statistics prove the effectiveness of individual and personalized moves. Contacting a customer one-on-one increases the likelihood of response up to 50 percent or more. Personalization increases the response rate by up to 500 percent. 

Handwritten cards

A paper alternative to persuasive emails is visual postcards. Although they can be time-consuming, personally handwritten cards can make the recipient feel extra special. Comparatively, this can also deepen the relationship and loyalty they will have with your organization. If the thought makes your hand cramp, check out companies like Handwrite.

Personality and gifts galore

An additional strategy to awaken and engage your donors and supporters is by sending them gifts. Who doesn’t love gifts? And it does not have to be elaborate or expensive. The important thing is making them feel good, as well as feel special. Correspondingly, every time they see that gift they think of the cause they are contributing to and the reason to continue doing so. 

                                        

The power of storytelling

Moreover, Emotional Intelligence is the magic formula that is crucial for any direct mail strategy. This concept focuses on being aware of feelings and adjusting your messaging to connect with them. As a non-profit, storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to attract and engage supporters. In turn, this may be enough to kick-start them into active involvement. Of course, this can be through volunteering time or supporting your organization monetarily.

Providing a personal story about how a donation improved someone’s quality of life can impact your audience in a personal way. An example: Robel, age 7, now has the opportunity to go to school) And another tactic is to share the implications of programs and services lacking contributions and the impacts on those served. An example: Young girls aged 12-16 in Warner Robins, Georgia currently have limited access to [blank] facilities; here’s how you can help. 

A direct mail case study: Fondazione Grigioni  

Fondazione Grigioni is an Italian non-profit organization whose mission is to provide funding for Parkinson’s Syndrome research. It is a perfect case study to understand and recognize a well-thought direct mail strategy.

For the organization’s end-of-year annual campaign, staff sends a grateful message thanking donors and supporters for all of their support. Subsequently, this message is then supplemented with a bag of aromatic plant seeds. As a result, served as a symbol of the seeds planted into the organization and its stakeholders. As the plant grows, it blooms. And this is symbolic of their monetary and time donations. Every day, seeing your plant, you are reminded of your effort, which allows society to grow.

 In conclusion, we can say that these strategies are the engine of nonprofit development. This is an essential tool for the success of the cause they believe in. Given direct mail’s pivotal role, communication skills are a must. PivotPath is an optimal solution for the creation of the techniques and certainty to its success.

strategy

What’s HOT in Nonprofit Communication Trends?

How to Communicate with your Non-Profit Organization (The New Trends) 

Nonprofits have seen a significant change in their marketing strategies, communication, and fundraising since the pandemic impacted their organizations. They have been creative in planning their communication with others and what that will look like post-pandemic. Look to see What’s Hot in Nonprofit Communication Trends.

communicating with your team members effectively
University students talking to their teacher while learning the lecture over the Internet at the campus.

The Importance of Time Management for your Nonprofit 

The pandemic took a toll on many companies in regard to planning the future of their business. Most goals were put on hold for a year or even longer. Companies are still apprehensive about planning due to the uncertainty of post-pandemic life. The company needs to manage its time efficiently so it can work towards completing the goals it did not get to finish before the pandemic. Employees and volunteers are also returning to the office after many months of working from home, which may come with distractions.

Virtual is the New Normal for Communication in your Nonprofit 

What’s Hot in Nonprofit Communication Trends? A significant change in communication between organizations has been the use of virtual meetings. If it weren’t for zoom or FaceTime, most sessions would not have been as informative without face-to-face contact with people. Nonprofits have focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to market to people. Social media has become a place for all ages to stay up-to-date on the news and find entertainment for hours on end. Nonprofits are still strategizing on better ways to communicate with others since COVID restrictions are easing up around the world. However, they may still try to utilize some of the marketing and communication strategies they learned from the pandemic into the future of their organizations. This will allow them to reach a broad audience that supports their organization and mission.

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