What Does a Board Communications Committee Do?

A minute ago, I introduced you to a new partnership with NCGives, where we will all hopefully learn a lot more about running a communications department of one for a small nonprofit, through the experiences of Melinda Pearce, NCGives’ communications director.

One of the challenges that Melinda is facing right now is how to use a board marketing or communications committee. She has board members and other volunteer leaders who are experienced with various facets of marketing and communications, but what should she be asking these people to do? What are some reasonable expectations?

I’ve seen nonprofit communications committees do everything from the purely strategic (creating a marketing strategy and simply monitoring implementation through quarterly reports) to the day-to-day tactical (writing and/or reviewing the e-newsletter).

Here are a few ideas that fall somewhere in the middle:

  • Open doors by connecting staff with reporters, graphic designers, and other communications professionals in the committee member’s network.
  • Be a sounding board for staff who do the work and make the decisions, by offering feedback and suggestions.
  • Do research on target audiences, for example, to focus and improve marketing strategies.
  • Gather intelligence on what competing organizations or “frenemies” are doing to help staff stay abreast of important trends or developments.
  • Friendraise by speaking publicly and privately with others about the organization’s good work
  • Launch special projects that staff are incapable of pursuing for whatever reason (e.g. not enough time), but that greatly benefit the organization

What does the communications committee of your board do? What would you like them to do (or not do)? Tell us in the comments.

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