Communication In Nonprofit Organizations: The Top 3 Ways to Communicate

Andrew VaethNonprofit Collaboration

improving communication in nonprofit organizations

Without effective communication, nonprofits face potential setbacks, including frustrated and confused constituents, disconnect among different communication platforms, low engagement from board members, and mission failure when the confusion detracts from your organization’s goal.

Before you set out to fix each of these issues, start by determining the kinds of communication your organization uses. To assist you in this process, we developed a free guide, “Organizing Chaos: A Guide to Effective Nonprofit Communication” that explains how critical communication is to a nonprofit’s mission success.

To get started, we’ve outlined the top three nonprofit communication types – then, we’ll discuss the next steps to improving communication once and for all.

Internal Communication

Within a nonprofit organization, the executive director (ED) is similar to a CEO of a for-profit entity — meaning that strong communication and continuity between departments is a key responsibility of their job function. Information communicated through internal communications include the organization’s day-to-day operations and goings-on, personnel updates and staffing changes, and overarching organizational developments.

Poor internal communication results in unmotivated staff and project failure, so it’s essential that the executive director execute all internal messaging flawlessly.

Board of Directors Communication

The nonprofit’s board of directors relies on the ED to act as the lifeline to the organization. The board expects to be well informed, but not overwhelmed with communication. The board receives messages pertaining to internal organizational news, business-related updates, fundraising milestones or setbacks, and strategic planning news.

If the ED mishandles communication with the board, members may become disinterested in the organization’s mission and disinclined to go the extra mile when it’s most needed.

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External Communication

Communication outside of the organization is one of the most important types, as this involves messaging directed to potential volunteers, donors and clients.

Though the ED may rely on a marketing head or team to coordinate external communications, they’re responsible for overseeing those team members and ensuring the organization’s mission is conveyed appropriately and effectively.

Messages communicated to external audiences include press releases, the organization’s website, social media updates, and fundraising opportunities.

Without the support of the public, the nonprofit is unable to secure essential resources needed for its operation, like donations, sponsorships, and volunteers. It’s up to the ED to make the organization important to the public.

How to Manage it All

With so much responsibility tied to communication, it’s key to have a strategic communication plan and abide by best practices at all times. Our FREE guide, “Organizing Chaos: A Guide to Effective Nonprofit Communication” shows exactly how to accomplish this. Download yours today!