The Los Alamos Community Foundation (LACF), in partnership with The Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNPE), offered an in-depth workshop on Marketing and Communications, Wednesday, Jan. 22 at UNM-Los Alamos.
The workshop was facilitated by CNPE’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Brandale Mills Cox who gave attendees the opportunity to examine their organization’s current marketing and communications practices and make plans for improvement.
“By the end of this training, you should leave with a tangible communications strategy reflective of your mission, goals, and the communities you serve,” Mills Cox said.
Mills Cox used the Communications and Marketing chapter of CNPE’s New Mexico Nonprofit Principles and Practices Guide as a foundation for attendees to understand best practices to achieve their communications objectives. The chapter includes recommendations on ethics and transparency, strategic communications planning, internal communications, branding and crisis communications.
Workshop attendees developed a communications plan and timeline, with strategies to build support and leverage their existing resources.
“Nonprofit communication plans should include goals, target audiences, core messages, tools, intended outcomes and means to evaluate results,” Mills Cox said. “Understanding your audience and the best way to communicate with them is essential in developing a successful communications plan.”
Participants completed a SWOT analysis of their current communication channels and methods - identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Attendees then focused on their highest leverage areas for improvement.
Mills Cox also emphasized the importance of establishing policies to regulate communications and marketing procedures within organizations, including standards for social media engagement, outreach materials and messaging. These policies enable nonprofits to better delegate and share the work of developing and distributing content.
“Operating with limited staff and resources is difficult,” Mills Cox said, “and these practices are critical in helping you prioritize your communications goals and create an impactful execution.”
Workshop participant, Todd Nickols with the Los Alamos History Museum said he gained useful best practices to implement within his organization.
"Big thanks to the Los Alamos Community Foundation and Center for Nonprofit Excellence for a fantastic session," Nickols said. "Our organization walked away from the session with our first communications plan and a lot of great ideas!"