I use the Six R’s of Relevant Messaging when I’m trying to help nonprofits create messaging that is more relevant to their participants, supporters, and influencers.

I’ve shared some specific tips on how to make your communications feel more “Real Time” and “Rewarding,” so today let’s look at being more “Responsive.”

 Listen!  You can’t be responsive unless you have something to respond to, and that means you need to listen to what people are saying. I recommend that you build listening into everything you do. This can take the form of surveys, polls, and focus groups, but also tracking conversations online (especially in social media) and making time for in-person and phone conversations that let you get to know people better. You might even want to take notes on what you hear and set aside time to regularly discuss as a staff what you are hearing in your community.

Write in Responsive Formats. Certain formats for content just naturally feel more responsive. Try . . .

Q & As, where you list questions that have come in from real people (use their initials or just first names if needed).

Advice Columns, same idea, but you can have a little more fun with this format, by making the person answering a fictional character with an extra dose of personality.

This Then That, where you describe what happened and then share what you did in response. For example, “we listened to your advice at the meeting last week, and we are changing this procedure as a result.”

Segment Your Communications. You can’t be all things to everyone all the time. To be as responsive as possible, think about ways that you can segment your communications so different groups of people get different content from you — content tailored to their special interests or needs. Experiment with it and see what happens.

How are you showing your participants, supporters, and influencers through your communications that you are listening and responsive?