A recurring question that my networks and allies ask: Where can I find real ‘tools’ for communications planning?
This often happens after they’ve completed a few rounds of the process—i.e. strategic visioning, org-wide communications assessment, and budgeting—and are then ready to jump into the next phases of implementation. Understandably, making the rubber-hit-the-road is daunting, but all it really means is getting down to the nitty-gritty work of communications.
Fear not. If the bulk of the planning in those first rounds is done with intention and clear action steps, you’ll find that implementation will feel like the least dauncing part of the comms planning process. So here’s a short list of tools and resources that my clients and I have found useful:
- The Communications Network is definitely a go-to site for tools, advice, and publications relevant to my field. Check out their publications, tools and tips, and webinars.
- This easy-to-use tool from Spitfire Strategies, “Smart Chart 3.0”, can help you with a framework to assess, strategize, and plan. Requires registration on their site, but it’s free.
- Hershey Cause Communications offers several great tools and publications such as: their “Communications Toolkit” (PDF), “Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes” (PDF), and “Online Outreach Tools Guide” (PDF).
Also check out
- Idealware is a fantastic site for folks seeking help and practical advice on software for nonprofits. Another invaluable site for nonprofit techies is TechSoup.
- More broadly–i.e. outside the nonprofit space– MindTools offers a suite of great tools to build your communications skills across a wide array of topics (many for free) including: The 7 Cs of Communication, 10 Common Communication Mistakes, and Jargon Busting.
Hope these are a helpful start!
Let me know in the comments what you think of these tools and if you have suggestions for resources I should include.