By David Deschenes
Build it and they will come? No. That only happens in the movies. Whether you are looking to engage new & existing donors, attract talented staff or volunteers, implement a new internal process, or make your services known to the community, effective marketing and communications practices will have a crucial bearing on your success. That’s where a communications assessment is key.
A communications assessment examines both external and internal marketing and communications; what has been effective and what hasn’t worked quite so well. Interviews with key staff and volunteers provide valuable insight, and very often, great ideas. And a survey of the community lets you know how people perceive your organization.
Danosky & Associates has conducted a number of communications assessments recently for organizations in Connecticut. The New Britain Industrial Museum promotes the extensive history of industry in New Britain. It has a location on Main Street, and enjoys an extremely faithful, local member base. But they wanted to take their marketing and communications to a level that would attract new members, expand their age and cultural demographic footprint, and increase visits and donations to the museum.
Through a review of their current practices, interviews with key volunteers, and an online survey of the community, we were able to provide recommendations that would be reasonably within their means. “Our organization has already benefited from our recently-completed Communications Assessment,” said Sophie Huget, Executive Director of the museum. “The recommendations re-enforce vital points in our strategic plan, and helped us clarify how our audience wants us to communicate with them. Recommendations like seeking skilled marketing professionals as volunteers and using video as an educational (and promotional) tool will help us reach more people. D&A’s consideration for our organization’s history and vision made the process easy for us. Asking for our input at each turn, they gleaned meaningful responses from our network of supporters and made easily-digestible recommendations based on these responses.”
Whether large or small, all organizations must maintain effective marketing and communications efforts to ensure that the public is aware of their services and the value they bring to the community. A communications assessment resulting in a set of reasonable recommendations will present the tools and plan to get you there.
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