In the article, I challenged foundations and other funders to skip the one-off communications projects and invest in building the expertise of nonprofit communications directors. That’s how we’ll level up the marketing maturity of the sector, in my opinion.
We represent a young profession that’s growing fast, and making great strides. And there’s certainly a need for funding projects like new staffing and technology.
But the most difficult challenges that nonprofit communicators face daily—and that stop them from doing their best work on behalf of their causes—will never be fixed with a series of one-off redesigns, consultants who parachute in and then disappear, or subscriptions to software services that take years to master.
Nor will a strategic plan that sits on a shelf, or fill-in-the-blank communications strategies or editorial calendars. These are no use in helping a communications director decide what, if anything, her organization should be doing on Snapchat, or how to respond to the latest live stream of some horrible event in the neighborhood.
Marketing maturity, on the other hand, would greatly increase the odds of both strategic and timely decision-making.
I suggest that investing in the professional development of nonprofit communications directors is the only way to solve the top communications problems we collectively face.
Naturally, this is what we do here at Nonprofit Marketing Guide. That’s why I was asked to write this piece. But I don’t pretend to hold all the answers for how to make it happen — I just know that it needs to happen. In the article, I lay out a few suggestions based on what we’ve learned from coaching communications directors for more than a decade, and I hope others will chime in with additional thoughts.
And stay tuned for our 2017 Trends Report next week, where I’ll provide some additional ideas on how we measure marketing maturity and effectiveness.