We have all either heard or have said the phrase “the early bird catches the worm” at some point. We’ve also likely witnessed that getting off to a good start increases the chances of having success. The same is true about planning for and communicating early and often in philanthropy.
The Patterson Foundation believes that communications is at the core of creating new realities. Getting off to a strong start by integrating communications early and often during an initiative’s incubation phase helps us share special challenges and successes for the benefit of others.
The Patterson Foundation integrates communications at the beginning of an initiative partnership to:
- Ensure potential stakeholders have a clear and accurate understanding of the initiative’s goals
- Leverage key influencers and potential partners of the initiative, building a strong network to achieve the goals
- Maximize impact by building awareness for the initiative over a longer period of time
How can other foundations integrate communications earlier in their own initiatives? Following these simple steps can help:
- From the outset, develop a communications plan and strategy. What are the goals and objectives for this initiative?
- Draft key message points about the initiative. What do you want potential stakeholders to know about the initiative?
- Draft an elevator speech explaining the initiative’s purpose. How would you explain the initiative to someone you were sharing a short elevator ride with?
- Schedule monthly communications meetings to review upcoming milestones and track stories.
- Foster an “open-door” policy with initiative leadership.
Integrating communications early can help propel the start-up phase of an initiative, but keep in mind that your plans are living, breathing documents that will need to evolve as your work does.
Do you have any stories of how integrating communications early on enhanced your initiative?