Good to Great - Smart Strategies for Success
Five Resolutions to Jump Start the New
by Monisha Som, Account Executive
Whether it’s eating better, sleeping more or spending less – the personal resolutions we make at the start of each year are usually as easy to break as they are to make. As 2009 comes to a close, consider skipping the traditional vows and instead making a resolution for your organization that will continue to pay off long after another year is through.
Here are Spitfire’s top five organizational resolutions for keeping your communications efforts on track in 2010.
Do your homework: Before you start communicating, find out what your audience is ready to listen to. Where should you look? Google is still a good standby, but another interesting resource is Issue Lab. A virtual warehouse of nonprofit research, Issue Lab publishes reports and research from a wide variety of sources specifically for nonprofits. What can research tell you? One recent study that can offer foundations in particular important insights is High Expectations, High Opportunity, a new report from the Philanthropy Awareness Initiative. Report findings are based off of a survey of ‘engaged Americans’ to find out what they think about the work and effectiveness of foundations.
Mark your calendar: Don’t let opportunity sneak up on you and leave you scrambling – or worse, pass you by completely. Start the year by making a calendar of all major events happening in 2010 – internally and externally – that bring potential communications hooks. Your organization’s anniversary, the release of the President’s budget and relevant national holidays are good places to start. Get your staff, board members and other stakeholders involved to make your calendar as comprehensive as possible. You don’t have to seize every potential opportunity, but starting the year by knowing when important dates are coming up will enable you to be prepared and leverage those that can best support your agenda.
Give yourself an audit: The beginning of the year is an excellent time to review your materials to ensure that they are still in-line with your organizational brand and goals. Review your Web site, one-pagers, brochures and other promotional materials and ask yourself: Does the content reflect the organization’s current goals? Does it speak to the right audience target? Are the content and language appropriate for that audience? Are there stories that are still relevant? Do all the materials reflect a consistent look? If the answer to any of these key questions is no, it’s time to update your materials.
Invest in those Kodak moments: You’ve heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words – it’s also worth it to secure those pictures now so you are not scrambling for visuals later. Consider investing in images to punch up your brochure, one-pager, Web site and PowerPoint presentations. iStockphoto and Getty Images are just two sites that offer thousands of photos at a wide range of prices. Another option is to invest time, rather than money – think about taking photos at all of your major events in the coming year to build up an image library of your own. Remember: images for print should be at least 300 DPI. And if you are taking photos yourself, talk to your legal department about setting up appropriate policies for use.
Boost up the hope: No one could argue that this hasn’t been a tough year. But how are people going to take the actions you want them to if they’re curled up in the fetal position? As you begin planning communications for the New Year, shed the melancholy and start with a fresh outlook for your organization – and communications that underscore your hope for success. Make sure your audiences, including your staff, know how committed your organization is to making this year the best one yet. Check out the Activation Point for pointers on how to turn up the volume hope and get your year started off right.