As 2022 begins to wind down, this is the time when non-profits should start thinking about a communications plan for 2023.

The first step is to reflect on the current year. You can’t begin to create an effective plan for the next year without first measuring the success of your efforts wrapping up this year. Ask yourself key questions:

  • What were your organization’s goals in 2022?
  • Which did you achieve?
  • Which were you not able to reach and why?
  • In reflecting, are there new approaches you could take, or were external factors not accounted for?

Evaluate your social media channels. Look at the internal insights provided by each platform. Understand the demographics of users you excel with. What type of content reached the highest engagement? What period did you see your highest engagement?

Are you and your organizations underutilizing or not utilizing communication tactics? A lot of nonprofits need to utilize their earned media potential better. For those unfamiliar, earned media is free publicity through interviews, opinion pieces, and letters to the editor. K2 has extensive experience interacting with media outlets, and the results speak for themselves. Earned media can increase awareness of your organization in many ways that your owned media tactics cannot.

Once you’ve taken stock of your year, it’s time to plan for the next one. Write out a strategic communications plan for 2023 that includes the following elements:

  1. Summarize your organization’s mission and how communications contribute to that mission. Use your notes from your reflection to highlight one goal you were proud to achieve last year and one goal you could not reach but will make a priority in the new year.
  2. Next, lay out your goals. These goals should be general in intention and broad in scope. These will happen over the year, so the period to accomplish these is long-term. Maybe it’s reaching 10k followers on your social accounts or consistently securing earned media once every week.
  3. Now it’s to map out your objectives. Objectives are a lot more specific and narrow in scope. You and your organization will execute these actions to reach your goals. For example, one of the goals we said earlier was to gain 10k new social followers. One objective to achieve that goal would be to increase daily social post frequency from 1 to 3 posts a day. Another would be to run a three-month paid digital ad campaign with the goal of new user acquisition.
  4. Outline the critical message you and your organization want to communicate to the public. This messaging should be the topline talking points you want people to remember when they think of your organization.

Write down your organization’s essential messengers and assets that can help you achieve your goals and objectives. These can include internal and external people and resources. Your assets should cover your earned, owned, and paid media options.

Once you have a solid outline that addresses the essential elements of a strategic communications plan, share it with your team and stakeholders for feedback and to continue the brainstorming.

Now that you have the first draft of your 2023 communications plan, your nonprofit should prepare for a new year of fundraising and development. Read our blog on the importance of having a CRM to build donor relationships and accurately track contributions.