Non-Profits and The Power of Communication

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Nonprofit organizations need to win hearts and minds no less than corporations or governments.

And the skills that work in other areas of leadership are particularly important for nonprofit leaders.

As Amazon Vine Hall-of-Fame Reviewer Harold McFarland wrote recently, although many of the examples in The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively are drawn from corporations or governments, the book has relevance also to non-profits.

In fact, I note in the book that I have used its principles and techniques with dozens of non-profit organizations, including religious and multi-faith advocacy groups, social justice groups, human rights organizations, museums and other cultural organizations, and universities.  Sometimes the very idea of using techniques also used by corporations causes some initial discomfort.  But folks get over that quickly when they see the results.

Today The NonProfit Times, the leading business publication for nonprofit management, weighed in.  It quoted from the book on the need for not-for-profit leaders to be strategic in planning communication.  Excerpts:

“6 strategic questions to consider

When it comes to marketing, words matter. The words you choose to use in one of your campaigns can be the difference between a success and a failure.

That’s the point that Helio Fred Garcia made in his book The Power of Communication.  He wrote that effective communication begins with strategic thinking. Strategy is all about what he called “ordered thinking.” For example, a communicator should never start with the question “What do we want to say?” because it skips the essential questions that establish goals, identify audiences and attitudes, and lay out a course of action to influence those attitudes.

Garcia recommended asking six strategic questions to become an effective habitually strategic communicator:

  1. What do we have? What is the challenge or opportunity we are hoping to address?
  2. What do we want? What’s our goal? Communication is merely the continuation of business by other means. We shouldn’t communicate unless we know what we’re trying to accomplish.
  3. What stakeholders matter to us? What do we know about them?
  4. What do we need them to think, feel, know, or do in order to accomplish our goal?
  5. What do they need to see us do, hear us say, or hear others say about us to think, feel, know, and do what we want them to accomplish?
  6. How do we make that happen?”
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