Monday, August 29, 2011

Management Tip: Timing Your Communications With Strategy

Did everyone stay safe during Hurricane Irene this weekend?  We didn't get much damage here at the office, though it looks like there was some flooding. 

Today's weekly nonprofit management tip deals with communications.  Timing your organization's communications plans can be very tricky.  How are you supposed to know how much correspondence is too much?  This tip, bought to you by the good folks at Idealware, will answer this question for you:

Different communications tools work in different time frames. For example, it’s not practical to send out more than a few direct mail pieces during the course of a year, while email is more of a monthly or weekly communication stream.

Facebook or blogs are weekly, or a couple of times a week, but you can easily post to Twitter several times a day. Photo and video sites, on the other hand, are not particularly timing-specific. You could post weekly or more frequently, if you wanted to, but you could also simply post photos or videos when you have them.

According to the nonprofit technology experts at Idealware in Portland, Maine, depending on your campaign, you might want to choose a mix of channels that are relatively similar in timing, or one that uses channels with completely different time frames.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to encourage people to attend your conference in two months, channels with different timing could reinforce each other -- for example, you could send out an introductory direct mail, follow it up with several emails spaced out over that time period, create a blog focusing on all the great content and speakers, and use Twitter to try to get the word out to folks in the topic area (and potentially get some press), according to Idealware.

Remember, however, that the channels that allow you to post frequently generally come with the expectation that you will post frequently. It’s not enough to post to Twitter several times a day in the heat of a campaign, abandon it for months, and then pick it up again the next time you need it. That’s not how people use Twitter, and they may well stop following you. The same is true of Facebook or blogs. It’s important to establish a baseline frequency (close to what people would expect) and stick with it.

Want to read more tips like this?  Head over to our Management Tips page.

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