What is the Return on Investment for Communications?

A continuing question raised by nonprofit leaders is “What is the return on investment for communications?” More than once I have been asked by a nonprofit board member, “If we fund this budget, can you guarantee that we will increase fundraising?”

That is the wrong question. What they should be asking is, “How will people know about us and our important work if we don’t make an investment in communications?” Can your organization rely on its current constituent pool, which is probably aging and shrinking, without continuing to renew their interest and support? Can you find new people to replace those you lose through attrition without presenting to new audiences? Clearly, the answer is “No.”

Advocates and donors want to hear from you, and not just through social media, as important as that is. The most successful and growing organizations have multi-channel communications initiatives that exploit earned and paid media online and through conventional outlets. They have representatives engaged in face-to-face communications in public forums and conferences. They make news or work closely with reporters to get out the word or buy their way in with advertising.

All this requires a carefully developed strategy that identifies realistic outcomes, the key audiences, actions they can take to achieve those results, persuasive messages, and tactics to get those messages into the right eyes and ears.

My passion is working with organizations and their leaders to help them communicate strategically to reach their goals. I try to harness innovations and breaking news to get organizations into the public conversation about issues. If you would like professional assistance in making communications “happen,” please be in touch.