A lot of the conversations I am having with nonprofit communications directors can be lumped under the category of “managing expectations.” That includes expectations from your boss and coworkers about what you do — or could do — as the communications lead. It includes expectations about how fast things will happen and the results work may or may not produce. It’s also the expectations that you place on yourself. And then, of course, we have all the expectations and reactions to what we are collectively experiencing this year (pandemic, racial injustice, presidential election, etc.).
It’s a lot.
As I think about the work we want to do at Nonprofit Marketing Guide next year, “managing expectations” is one theme that is bubbling to the top.
I’d love your help in thinking through what that would look like. It could be things like helping communications directors . . .
Question Assumptions (Yours and Others)
We know for a fact that nonprofit staff who don’t do communications work rarely understand what it entails. If you are the first person in the communications director role at your nonprofit, you are bound to have your own assumptions that don’t match what everyone else in the organization is assuming, simply because you are creating a new role and new capacity in the organization from scratch.
Help Others Understand Your Role
So if the assumptions are wrong, how do you set them straight? Lots of communication, obviously. But about what exactly? Helping others understand what it is you do exactly — and what is NOT your job — could be helpful.
Educate Others on Best Practices
It’s impossible to meet high expectations if you are also forced to do things that simply don’t work. Helping others understand what professional communications work looks like and what it takes to get there could also help.
Or it could be something else entirely.
What do you think? Please comment on this post and let me know.