Deciding what and how to communication on behalf of your non-profit can be a challenge anytime. In the midst of a pandemic? Perhaps even more of a challenge. You want to be relevant, heard, and not tone deaf given what's happening in people's daily lives. It takes work anytime to strike this kind of balance and today I want to share a bit about my communications planning philosophy in the hopes that it helps you think about what to communicate and how.
The Two Foundations of Communications (in my opinion)
I like to separate communications into categories -- Heartbeats and Remarkables. Heartbeats is a term I learned from fellow communications consultants at Capulet Communications. Remarkables is a term from Seth Godin.
Heartbeats are those communications that you do regularly, no matter what. This could include blog and website content, social media updates, press releases, email marketing, and so on. Anything that regularly shows up on your editorial calendar is in this category.
Remarkables are those communications that Seth Godin refers to as "purple cows." They stand out. They have the ability to cut through online noise, inspire action, increase attention, and build community. They are often stand alone campaigns that you do one time for a very specific purpose.
You may find it helpful to look retrospectively at your communications to see where your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to Heartbeats and Remarkables. In general I would say that most organizations are pretty good at Heartbeat communications. They post and publish certain types of content with decent regularity. What I see far less of in the sector are Remarkables.
Applying Remarkables to Your Nonprofit
If ever there was a time for engaging and inspiring communication, it's right now. People are at home, our daily lives look different, and we're in need of connection and inspiration. Developing a Remarkable communication for your nonprofit takes time and resources, yes. And it build audience engagement and loyalty, which are priceless.
Here are a few examples of Remarkables that I recently brainstormed.
For Museums: Putting together virtual tours or coloring books inspired by your collections that help parents who are currently homeschooling kids.
For Animal Shelters: Creating an interactive landing page for local walking routes for pet owners
For Hospitals: Sharing masked selfie stories from your frontline medical staff. I saw something like this on a lifestyle blogger's Instagram feed and I loved the idea.
For Environmental Organizations: Developing a guide for sustainable living that might include information on how to start growing your own food, small scale homesteading projects, composting, and so on.
The thread you'll see in these examples is that they are useful (ie they give a lot of value to the audience) and they are likely unexpected (to a point). It's also important to note that in addition to creating the Remarkable, you must have a plan to market it and get it into the hands of your audience!
I hope they give you some inspiration for creative Remarkables your nonprofit could execute.
Need help brainstorming? Leave a comment below and I'd be happy to help you out there.