Are you responsible for internal communications at your nonprofit (along with external)?

It’s helpful to apply some of the same planning tools, like goals, strategies, objectives, and tactics.

We’ve talked about goals for internal communications before. These include several categories:

  • Strategic Leadership Goals
  • Organizational Culture Goals
  • Project Management Goals

Today, let’s look at objectives for your internal communications work, or how you might measure success.

I don’t think the types of objectives are all that different from some of the external communications objectives we recommend, such as Participation Levels or Changes in Attitude.

Here are five objectives that I think are particularly relevant internally:

Increased Satisfaction

In your external plans, you might be measuring donor satisfaction as an element of retention or how satisfied participants are with the services or programs you provide via surveys.

Internally, you’d measure the impact of communications on job satisfaction. Turnover is a big issue in our sector, and good internal communications go a long way in helping people feel more included and connected at work, and therefore more satisfied and likely to stay.

Change in Tone or Attitude

Nonprofits are changemakers by nature, but are also filled with human beings who themselves can often be very averse to change! It’s not uncommon to see tone or attitudes changing for the worse when programs come and go or when a nonprofit gets new leadership.

If new relationships have gotten off to a bad start creating mistrust or fear or a lack of cooperation, a solid internal communications plan can help repair some of that damage and improve tone and attitude over time.

Change in Behavior

This is always a fun one . . . what do you wish some of your co-workers would do differently on the regular?

This can be as mundane as not leaving old food in the breakroom fridge to behaviors with more serious implications, such as supervision and management styles.

A clear internal communications plan with the right messaging delivered to the right people in the right way at the right time (all hallmarks of good marketing decisions) can bring about behavior changes.

Participation Levels

Whether you want staff to participate in a health and wellness plan, or actively engage in certain meetings, or collect and share stories from the field, getting people to do something they don’t consider an essential part of their own jobs is often a challenge.

You can increase participation levels with good internal communications that answer the Why Now and Why Me questions. Increasing participation is all about making the call to action more relevant for the staff person.

Increased Readiness

Is your nonprofit slow to react, or does it always feel like everything is an emergency that you aren’t prepared for? That’s a “readiness” issue and an internal communications plan can help by encouraging people to take time for strategic thinking or to take baby steps now toward readiness to respond to something later.

Remember, good objectives are SMART: Take these five types of objectives and customize them for your organization by making them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resourced, and Time-Bound.

Learn more about internal communications planning and best practices during our webinars:  Internal Communications: Informing and Engaging Your Nonprofit’s Staff and Board.

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