Getting Started

In much the same way that being familiar with statistics and data is considered “everyone’s job,” regardless of your functional position in the program, participating in your organization’s communications efforts is a part of your job description as well. Being an employee in a small government program or nonprofit organization means that we tend to have our hands in everything – from program management to performance improvement, from data entry to field inspections. Because of this, your actions or conversations can impact your entire program and beyond. We all need to find ways to expand our influence, engage traditional and nontraditional partners in meaningful ways, and reach outside our usual circle of influence.

Dr. Brené Brown once said, “Stories are just data with a soul.” You have the data, you have the experiences… Now let’s find some ways to tell your story.

Where to Start

Cause Communications has developed a number of publications and resources designed to enhance the communications capacity of nonprofit organizations. Their Cause Clarity suite of digital resources for individuals navigating the world of communications consists of engaging three-minute how-to videos, accompanying worksheets to help you apply what you learn to your situation, and some additional suggested resources. The videos focus on a wide variety of topics – messaging, branding, marketing, strategy/tactics, fundraising – and are a great starting place for budding communications professionals!

Cause Communications’ “bite-size courses” were developed with an emphasis on providing support for nonprofit organizations, but they have much to offer other groups as well. To hone your organization’s messaging skills, select from the list below. Each course page contains a brief video and a worksheet (registration may be required).

  • How to Maintain a Consistent Brand video | pdf
  • How to Evaluate Your Brand for Your Cause video | pdf 
  • How to Create a Core Message for Your Cause — video | pdf
  • How to Identify Audiences for Your Cause video | pdf
  • How to Customize Your Message for Your Causevideo | pdf
  • How to Choose a Messenger for Your Cause — video | pdf
  • How to Tell Your Story for Your Cause — video | pdf

Cause Communications has also developed a Communications Toolkit (registration required) that serves as a “guide to help you find the best approaches, messages, and vehicles for reaching all of your key audiences” and navigating through a variety of communications efforts.

View Resources by Topic

We’ve also complied a host of resources to help you start to build your communications capacity and begin to address your county’s specific communications needs. Use the links below to view resources by topic.

Still Not Sure? Try This…

If you want aren’t sure yet what your program’s “story” is, start by learning how to define your key messages and storyline.

If you aren’t sure with whom you’re trying to communicate or how many types of audiences you may have, start by identifying your key audiences.

If you think you know what you want to share with your audiences but aren’t sure how to make it interesting, start by learning how to visualize data and create better slides and charts.

If you have your story but don’t know how to get the word out, start by getting some ideas on where to share your story.

If you aren’t sure what “communications efforts” even means, start by reading about the importance of communications, marketing, and public perception.

Do you know of a great resource that no communications toolkit should be without? Tell us about it! Send your suggestions to Amanda Reddy or Christopher Bloom.