Communication is essential. The work of non-profits is exceptionally demanding and often the communication is left for when someone has a free moment (a rare occurrence), or a funder requires information, or a journalist declares an interest. Communication is just too important to be prepared only on demand.

Ten good reasons why non-profits should communicate are:

1. Information

Every organisation needs to make known the work that they do, the communities with which they interact and the sectors in which they operate.

2. Advocacy

Advocacy is not only about lobbying for a cause outside of the organisation but also for the organisation itself. The more people know about what an organisation does and achieves, the more likely they are to connect the organisation to programmes, causes and funding opportunities.

3. Marketing

Marketing is aligned to information distribution and advocacy but is usually more focussed. It is a purposeful communicative strategy with a set of goals and outcomes.

4. Publicity

A way to make sure that the right stories are broadcast through the most appropriate channels so that the organisation is recognised and understood by their target auidences. Publicity makes an organisation visible.

5. Engagement

Members need to be kept informed and they need to be given an ongoing sense of belonging. A regular set of meaningful communications that keep members connected to the organisation can be very successful in keeping and growing the membership of an organisation.

6. Fundraising

Good fundraising requires good communication. Strategies for communication that support fundraising goals are critical to any Advancement programme. Whether asking for funding, saying thank you or merely informing people of the status of a campaign, regular and clear communication is the backbone of a successful Advancement programme.

7. Clarify purpose

Organisations need to be clear and sure about their purpose, goals and objectives when putting together their communications. This is key to ensuring that everyone in the organisation has the same understanding and sense of priorities. The organisational message can sometimes become muddled particularly in bigger organisations or ones that have diverse programmes and/or locations. Having to provide regular communication pieces helps to ensure that clarity of goals prevails.

8. Keep focus

Much like clarifying your purpose, keeping focus is an important for non-profits. It is very easy to become side-tracked when busy. Reports, interim narratives and narrative updates help members of an organisation to keep their “eye on the prize”.

9. Integrated planning

Strong and successful Advancement programmes have well-integrated communication plans that take into account all aspects of the organisation. A strategic plan of any non-profit must include the critical role that all communication plays in presenting an organisation to its best advantage.

10. Human face

Every non-profit will benefit from having human faces linked to their profiles. Whether these are interesting stories about the work that individuals or groups do, or about the people who ultimately benefit from your work, a human interest story is memorable and gives your organisation a humanity that will enhance your image positively and constructively.