In work, as in life, it can be tough to plan ahead. With all the concerns of day-to-day operations, it’s difficult to stop and look at the bigger picture. But in order for an organization to be successful, a strategic communications plan is essential. Having a plan gives your organization intention and purpose. It enables you to save time and gain ground on initiatives, rather than jumping from project to project and hustling to stay ahead.
Here are five tips for creating an annual communications plan for your church:
1. Define Messages –
Using your churches mission as a basis, identify the messages you want to communicate throughout the year. Don’t make your final list too long. Select three to five key messages. Make them narrow and focused. This is what you want to communicate about your church.
2. Identify Audience –
Once you clearly define what you want to say, the next step is identifying who you want to say it to. Spend time researching demographics, interviewing audiences and conducting surveys. Figure out the social environments your audience interacts in and how they prefer to communicate with organizations.
3. Capture Goals –
You know what you want to say and who you want to say it to. Now determine how you want to go about transferring your message to your audience. Devise projects and initiatives to execute throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to be creative and ambitious with your goals (while still making them attainable).
4. Maximize Budget –
Don’t let your budget determine your communications. Your communications should drive your budget. Gather pricing estimates in advance. Thoroughly account for every potential expense. Need additional budget dollars? Quantify the return on investment of your efforts so you can justify them to leadership.
5. Create Collectively –
Don’t go it alone when creating your communications plan. It should be a collective effort. Bring in key members of your organization from different teams or departments. Include local experts and audience members. The more input you receive, the more weight your plan will hold moving forward. Effective communications are based on strategy. Give your organization a leg up in the New Year by developing a plan for achieving your communication goals. As Basil S. Walsh once noted: “If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect to get there?”