Nonprofit Communications Director Pep Talk – July 2023
Kivi Leroux Miller, Founder and CEO
Here are five quick reminders I think a bunch of you need to hear right now:
You are not alone. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people working in nonprofit comms are struggling with the same issues. I promise. I talk to them daily, and it’s one of the reasons we decided to create a private community (it’s free; folks with the All-Access Pass get more).
Complicated situations are common, but don’t require complicated plans. A lot of you work for nonprofits doing complicated, hard things. Or you work for nonprofits doing 30 different things, which complicates your job as a single nonprofit communicator. Don’t bring even more complication to the table. Simplify as much as you can. Hone in on what is most essential from a communications point of view.
Nobody knows everything about the job. There is no one set “nonprofit communications director” job description. It varies as widely as the missions of nonprofit organizations, and there is a nonprofit for everything. So don’t feel like an imposter or that you have too much to learn before taking on the job. Just do it, and keep learning. The job is always changing. Even those of us who have been at this for ~20 years are still learning every day, trust me.
If you feel you have to justify your existence at work, that’s a problem with them, not you. Yes, you may need to do some internal education about the strategic role of marketing and communications in the nonprofit sector, about better practices, about what is realistic, and what is possible with more time and resources. It’s discouraging when your job is first on the chopping block. But understand that is nearly always a sign of a short-sighted approach and leadership failure. It’s not because your chosen profession doesn’t matter. It does.
You can figure it out — whatever it is. That doesn’t mean you personally have to do whatever it is. But whatever the communications or marketing dilemma of the day is, there are people who have done it before or who are available to listen, at a minimum. Give yourself a little time to breathe, a bit more time to think, and you’ll get there.
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