Strategic Connections

How your communications program serves as a bridge between your organization’s brand and the audiences you are trying to reach

By Paul Lagasse

Excerpted from an interview with Beth Brodovsky for Advancing Philanthropy January/February 2012


Practical Creative

A good communications strategy requires you know your message and your audiences. However, good tactics are what convey that message to those audiences. “It’s not about narrowing what you do. It’s about narrowing the focus in talking about what you do,” says Beth S. Brodovsky, president of Iris Creative Group ( in Plymouth Meeting, PA . “If there’s no compelling reason to select your organization, then it’s a coin toss. You might be better you’re your rival, but your audience will never know if your rival is doing better marketing. So you need to ask, ‘What can our communications do to flip that switch on participation?’”

One key to flipping that switch is to avoid treating connoisseurs and consumers alike, Brodovsky says. In other words, do not tell people who already support your organization the same things you tell people who don’t know about you yet. Nonprofits risk over-saturating their “connoisseurs” and starving their “consumers” by sending them the same communications. Instead, organizations should conduct surveys and use analytics to find out what people really want to know about them. Customer-satisfaction surveys are a staple of commercial communications, but are not widespread in the nonprofit sector—yet.

Brodovsky emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for nonprofit communications. “I try to focus on what I call ‘practical creative,’” she says. “That means your communications need to be as functional for the audiences who receive them as they are for the people who have to deliver them.”

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