Association communicators are sometimes wary of the budgeting that goes along with strategic planning. With limited dollars, communications is an easy target to trim cost. Better this than cutting member programs…right? Wrong!
Any big, bold, aggressive initiative requires purposeful communication. Whether it’s a communications goal, financial goal, education goal or a legislative goal, if communications are missing, chances are the goal will fall short.
To help ensure board (and vocal volunteer) buy-in for your communications plan, begin with BIG communication goals that link directly to the organization’s BIG strategic goals. Staff may not initially see the connection. It’s easy for the communications director to focus on wanting better open rates when the BIG strategic goal is to be more relevant to a member’s business. When you tie your communication goals to your strategic goals, you’ll get better buy-in and support from directors – and alignment with staff.
And the “squeaky wheel” member who believes he or she knows best about communications…and has the board’s ear? Make sure you have input, feedback, perspective and a consistent story to tell.
Now, think like a marketer and implement your plan with the end in sight—achieving your BIG goal. Follow your clear, simple and relevant plan. Lead with the right messages, customized to key audiences and delivered the way the member prefers to receive it. Showing leadership you have a plan for this will help you win over critics and turn them into fans.
Effective communications don’t happen in a vacuum. They have a line of sight to where the organization is heading. When you think of your plan in this way, you have a higher probability of getting your board on board while helping achieve the association’s strategic objectives.