It’s a management maxim: We measure what we care about, and we care about what we measure.  

So if you want your executive management team and/or board to care more about marketing and communications, are you doing your part by suggesting how they measure your communications work?

Odds are extremely low that they will come up with the right measurements on their own — you really need to step up on this one and suggest some communications objectives and measures.

Let’s get back to the connection between measuring and caring. New data from our 2019 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report (to be released in full on January 16) suggests we have a problem.

About a third of nonprofit communicators say they aren’t reporting to organizational management at all, only on request, or only once a year. Yikes!

Another 9% are reporting weekly, 31% are reporting monthly (my recommendation for management reporting), and 22% are reporting quarterly.

The numbers are even worse for board reporting, where 45% — nearly half! — of communicators say they report communications results or KPIs to their board of directors only once a year, only on request, or never.

For those who do report communications results to the board, 35% do so quarterly (my recommendation for board reporting) and 14% do so monthly.

What’s happening here? 

Are we to assume that 1/3 of nonprofit management teams and nearly half of boards don’t care about communications results?

Let’s hope not.

Let’s hope that they simply don’t know what to ask for or what to expect from communications staff, and that if we as communications professionals can tell them what’s important, they will measure, and they will care.