There are common communication and media challenges faced by organisations. There is also much to learn about keeping your brand integrity, and communicating with a clear understanding of the work that your organisation does.
“The biggest challenge I face with e-communications work is in convincing NGOs to take it seriously. So few NGOs work within a communications strategy or framework, and after all these years I’m still encountering NGOs who leave their social media work to their interns or techies to manage. This completely disregards the importance of effective communications skills and reduces social media to a “nice to have” or a sideline. Not only can this damage your brand, but you will be wasting considerable time and effort throwing out messages and hoping that it reaches someone. Think about it, would you let your interns or IT support write your press releases or conduct media interviews? Why then would you put them in charge your message that could go out to hundreds, thousands or maybe more people? Your social media manager (yes, your organisation should have a social media manager) must have a clear and solid understanding of your work, your brand, and be an effective online voice for your organisation.
There is still a disconnect between the work an organisation does and its social media platforms. Ideally, programme staff and senior management should be actively engaged in social media as they are best placed to engage in conversations about the issues you care about.
One of the biggest obstacles is the belief that the online audience, particularly in South Africa, is still too small to invest the time and energy to communicate with. However, according to the Network Society study (http://www.networksociety.co.za) one in three South African adults use the internet. We’re expecting this to increase to two in three adults by 2016. More people go online daily (22%) than read a newspaper everyday (17%). Two out of three Internet users (66%) speak an African language at home, most of them have not been educated beyond school level and four out of ten live on less than R1, 500 per month.
Your audience, your constituents, your potential donors, the media, members of parliament, and thousands of non-profits all over the world are already at the party. Join them!” – Ruendree Govinder
Ruendree Govinder of Interiority Consulting and the Non-Profit Network