Kick-Start Yourself with a Communications Grid

Carol Goglia

Carol Goglia

We always hear from nonprofits asking how other organizations organize their content. We’ve talked about Big Picture Communications Timelines and Editorial Calendars, but there are lots of great hybrids in between.  Former Mentoring Program participant Carol Goglia, Director of Marketing and Communications at Communities Foundation of Texas, was kind enough to share her communications grid with us, and you. ~Kivi

Guest Post by Carol Goglia of Communities Foundation of Texas

Sometimes all it takes to get a good plan going is a good template. You can then focus on addressing the key elements of your marketing strategy. The way I like to plan is by creating a Communications Grid.

Assuming you have your main goals in mind, a grid can help you activate your strategy to get there.

Step 1: What is your goal and the key motivating message?

Across the top of your page, list your singular goal and the key message that you need to communicate.

nonprofit communications plan template

Step 2: Who are your target audiences?

Think about the most important people to you for achieving your main marketing goal and list them down the side of a piece of paper. In my case, I am targeting charitable people who want to make their dollar go further for their favorite cause. On the target list, I put them and those who influence them.


Step 3: What are your key channels of communication?

How will they best hear your key message? What mediums and what times (of the year, of the week, of the day) are they most receptive to understanding and taking action on what you have to say? List your key communication channels across the top of the page (print, web, email, social media, direct mail, paid advertising, earned PR, events, 1:1 meetings, etc.)

Repeat this exercise for each key message and each key target.


Bonus: Summarize to a master grid

Look for themes and commonalities. Is there a rhythm that can be mapped out across a certain timeframe of your campaign or across a full year?  If so, you can create a master grid that has your key targets down the side and your key messages by timeframe across the top. That will give you a good 1-page overview that’s useful for board presentations or other situations when you need a high-level summary.

DownloadCarol’s Communications Grid PowerPoint Template

Carol Pierce Goglia currently leads marketing and communications for Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) in Dallas, Texas. As the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, CFT works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. Carol holds an MBA from University of Texas at Austin and BA from Washington & Lee University. A third generation Dallasite, Carol, and her husband Mark live in North Dallas with their three children.  

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